Wednesday, May 4, 2011

the hum and the beat

as an expectant mother one of my favorite sounds was always the swoosh-swoosh of the ultra sound machine.  the ball would roll slowly over my enormous belly and i would listen carefully to its hum.  first the hum and then the beat.  the beautiful beat.  my eyes would close as i lay there pregnant with baby.  pregnant with joy.  heart full.  body still - listening to the rapid thumping of this wee one growing splendidly inside.  the technician would, without fail,  prompt me, "open your eyes, jody, and see your baby."  and i would open them, but not quickly.  of course there was great delight in seeing the baby-ish form on the fuzzy screen. my child.  but it was always the sound which brought the goosebumps. the butterflies.  the hum and the beat.

somehow i traveled from expectant mother to seasoned mom.  all overnight, it sure seems.  in my mind's eye i am very much the 26 year old girl folding tiny pink t-shirts for my firstborn's arrival.  my firstborn who is now in high school and sometimes in the driver's seat.  my firstborn who is taller than me and faster than me and, certainly,  sharper than me.  yes, time has marched quickly.  now i am the woman sitting in the ob/gyn waiting room with a flat stomach, but an ugly diagnosis. 

i had three diagnostic ultra sounds in the matter of one week.  suddenly,  i wasn't quite so fond of that humming machine.  i don't have to tell you the big difference between the image of my pregnant womb and that of my cancer carrying breast.    and i am not just talking size.  last week when the surgeon wheeled in the cart i felt my breath catch a bit.  i lay flat on that table.  flattened with fear.  again, tears behind my closed lids.  there was no joy in this laying... in this listening.  no joy at all.   he scrutinized the tumor and the many nearby cysts. one by one.  there was a lot of hum, but no beat.  no beat at all. 

again, i laid on that table wondering how in the world did i get here?  how did we go from that to this?  i started to feel the deep sadness well up.  tears at the eyelids.  sadness in the heart.  and the machine hummed on.   but my doctor stopped in the middle of his scrutiny and said, "jody, look at this."  he had something to show me.  he wanted me to see how my cancer could have been so easily missed.   with just a small movement it seemed to change in appearance.  it looked more like a cyst than a mass.  it was incredible.  i laid there and stared at this ugly image.  i hated it.  but as he continued to show me its features and as he continued to explain the wonder of its detection,  i was suddenly filled with an unbelievable thankfulness.  incredible gratitude.  the diagnostic team which had originally found the mass had done exceptional work.  this could so easily have been discounted as nothing.  it could have so easily been dismissed and passed over.  right now i could be outside digging in the dirt or doing dishes or driving children without another thought of breast cancer.  that is, until next year.

i have thought of that table moment several times this past week.  i am so thankful for skilled doctors and thorough technicians.  i am so thankful they took a second and a third and maybe even a fourth look.  my cancer is in the 15% of breast cancers.  it is classified as lobular.  lobular means a lot of things, but it also means it is one of the most difficult cancers to detect.  it is very often the cancer which is most often missed.    

so, as much as i would rather be hearing the steady beat of a baby heart,  i have come to a new place.  at least a new place with the technology.  this machine once gave me peace of mind and joy:  my baby was there and doing well.   how ironic that it would be this same machine which would now point out pain and decipher disease.  this seems incredible to me.  but it is clear,  i can choose.  i can choose to stay in the flatness and dwell on the awfulness of this irony, or i can choose to embrace the gift of this offering.  my hard-to-detect, easily-missed cancer was found.  it was found.   it was disrobed of its sneaky features.  it was rooted out of its camouflaged surroundings. and it will be removed. soon.  and this always-expectant-and-somewhat-seasoned mother will have the chance to continue to hear the beat...beat... beat of her own heart.

and we choose to give thanks.



andrea said... i read your post my heart is filled with HOPE....your going to beat this...your going to minister to so many....your going to be an inspiration to so many....put your boxing gloves on and FIGHT...FIGHT...FIGHT...your a WINNER already!

God bless you

Mistye Wilson said...

I have followed your blog for a year now. I am the girl that sat across from you last summer at the Chinese restaurant, with Lily and Amy. It was right after you'd brought your daughter home from China. I looked at you and couldn't wait to be in your shoes. I will be in them this summer. we will probably go over in June. You have given me laughter and tears with your writings. You are brilliant with your words. I've read your blogs during my darkest nights and brightest days. you will never know what you have done for me.
I will pray for you, my friend. Now, I not only come to this blog to hear about Bella Grace, but about your health. God is using you in so many ways. I'm sure you are scared but take refuge in the Lord. He will sustain you. You know that.
2 Cor 4:16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
1 Cor 13:12
"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that i know now is partial and incomplete but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."
May God hold you tightly in His hand and you feel His Grip.
Mistye Wilson

jodymcnatt said...

oh dear misty....i have thought of you several times since that quick lunch. i wondered where you were in your process. how wonderful to know you will head over in june. that makes my heart sing. seriously, sing! please keep me posted on...well...on everything! i just can't tell you how wonderful this will be. my family says, over and over, how sad we are for people to miss this opportunity. God calls so many more to these children. He calls us to them...and WE are the ones blessed beyond measure. plan on it. one of ths hardest parts of this diagnosis recently has been to come to terms with the fact that we won't be able to adopt again. we were at least open to it. we doubt there will be a chance with this in my history. and i assure you, i am confident this will someday be in my history. regardless, we are beyond amazed at how God has given us five children ... we will only and always praise Him for this blessing. our arms are full.
thank you for your prayers. i treasure them. we are very much staring in that cloudy mirror right now...but we know....WE KNOW... there will be a day which will dawn with clarity...perfect clarity. much love. j