Monday was the day that I was scheduled for breast MRI tests. This is one of many different types of tests I will be undergoing in the coming weeks, months, and probably years.
Such a strange experience, and not exactly what one might expect.
First, when the nurse was scheduling me, she asked the weirdest questions, like “Have you ever had metal in your eye”. Metal in my eye? I tried desperately to remember any instance in my childhood that might have resulted in me having any shards of metal that I may have forgotten. Apparently, this machine consists of such a powerful magnet that if I had ever had metal in my eye…well let’s just say it would have removed itself during the MRI. Blecch!
So needless to say, I was a bit nervous when the test began. I fervently hoped I hadn’t forgotten some lead pencil accident or something. Strangely, I squinched my eyes closed, hoping that if I had forgotten anything, I wouldn’t experience anything awful (as if keeping my eyes closed would actually help).
The whole thing took about 30 minutes. 30 minutes is a very long time when you’re cocooned in a tube and told you can’t move a muscle! My lessons in doing nothing were coming in really handy right about now.
The funny thing was that no one told me I would start to feel like I was on a slow ride at Disney! The moment they released the injectable contrast dye into my bloodstream, I literally felt it flow into my arm, towards my heart, and then “rush” through my veins to all my extremities. I even felt it flow through my brain. It was the weirdest feeling I’ve ever experienced! I’ve never been more acutely aware of how my blood system works as I was in that moment. But that wasn’t the strangest part. I started feeling like I was slowly spinning on a spit. I had to open my eyes to confirm that I was actually just lying there perfectly still. I literally felt like this for the next couple of hours, and it was weird, to say the least.
When I was released from the tube, I asked the nurses about this and apparently it was a rare phenomenon that very few patients experience. Go figure, I’m a medical anomaly!
Our next test was supposed to be a biopsy on Wednesday. But when the doctor examined me, instead of giving me the biopsy like we expected, he asked me to get dressed and head on over to the consulting area.
That’s the moment I knew for certain that I was going to need a mastectomy. This meant that the MRI results had come in and the doctor was certain it was cancer. If a biopsy wasn’t necessary, then a mastectomy was.
I started preparing myself for the news, and reminding myself to keep it together, for Michel’s sake.
See, Michel and I are firm believers that staying positive and focused on only what we want is the key to manifesting abundant health. So, in the past few days, we have never once let ourselves imagine me losing my breast. We simply never let it enter our minds. We felt that if we focused on a scar-free, healthy, beautiful breast, we would be able to ensure that non-surgical treatments would be possible.
I still firmly believe that if we would have had more time, we could have used this technique effectively. But we simply don’t have that kind of time.
When the doctor explained what the MRI had shown, we were shocked by how much of my breast has been taken over by cancer. We’re not just talking about a lump. We’re dealing with numerous satellite nodes and the total area of cancer throughout my breast is about 3/4 of the original tissue. Essentially, my breast is no longer a breast at all. It is made up almost entirely of cancerous tissue, and it has to go.
“Modified Radical Mastectomy”
Three words which scare the crap out of me.
They mean that at 36 years old, newly married, I am going to be scarred for life. No reconstructive surgery in the future is going to make me ever look the same again. My nipple will be removed, and even though nipple reconstruction is possible, they won’t ever be able to make it look exactly like the other one.
Wow. So that’s it then. Mastectomy. No other choice, huh?
Believe me, if I had the luxury of time, I would be the first one to explore alternative remedies first before going the way of the knife. If I had even 3 months to try other things, I would gladly try remedies and techniques I’ve read about and would love to attempt first. But we don’t have this kind of time.
I found the lump in June. Within 2 months, it has grown from a small lump to overtaking my entire breast, and it is dangerously close to the lymph nodes and is threatening to decide to go exploring through my bloodstream.
So, we must move quickly to get rid of it before it gets any larger. My surgery is scheduled for September 11th, which I find ironic.
Hearing the doctor explain what we would be doing was a little surreal. I heard his words. I understood what he was saying. But it didn’t “feel” like he was talking to me. It was if he was explaining something to me that I would then need to tell someone else this was actually happening to. I’ve not experienced that kind of “disconnected” feeling in many years.
I mean, I know he’s speaking to me, and I am scared, but this is all happening so incredibly fast! How could it possibly be happening to me?
I realize that cancer doesn’t choose who it will affect. It is mindless and doesn’t care who I am or what I’ve done in my life. It doesn’t care that I’ve been a good person.
It is doing what it is programmed to do. It isn’t trying to be mean. It’s just a stupid machine that has no clue that if it is allowed to continue on its path of destruction, it will inevitably destroy its own home and thus…destroy itself.
So being angry with it wouldn’t make sense. It’s as dumb as being angry with termites that mindlessly chew through the wood of a home.
But as dumb as it would be to be angry with something that doesn’t have the brain to be aware of the effect it is having on me, I am angry with it. I’m furious with it! I’m so spitting angry at it because if I don’t get mad at cancer, I won’t have the energy to fight. I need this anger right now. I need to seethe and fume and be royally livid at the “thing” that dared to come into my life just when I was the happiest.
I had found my Happy Place, and cancer came along and challenged my right to stay in my Happy Place.
And I simply, absolutely, completely REFUSE to give in and let this mindless eating machine push me off my Happy Place.
I deserve it.
So the next few months will be all about staying in the Happy Place that I earned fair and square.