I awoke this morning in a bit of a fog. The last week of my life has been consumed by my seven-year old’s tonsillectomy. The surgery went very well but day two was extraordinarily rough with him throwing up and having a temperature that topped out at 104 degrees. He would improve and then take two steps back. I had planned to return to work today, but after Jace had another rough morning yesterday, I decided it would be in his best interest to not be forced to wake up at six in the morning and be carted around so I can make it in to the office by eight.
Anyhow, I awoke this morning with a tiny little body curled up into mine and I have never been so comfortable in my life. I wasn’t sure at first if it was my son or daughter who had snuck into my bed, but then I found her little toes and felt her hair in the dark and figured out that, yes…yes, it was definitely my daughter. Why is she so cuddly??? I can never get out of bed when she is around….that is unless she is pulling me out of bed by the arm demanding strawberry milk and/or pancakes. We definitely have those mornings as well. But this morning was different. Her eyes fluttered open and we laid in bed just soaking in the day. She chatted and I listened and felt calm and happy. The house was quiet which meant my son was still sleeping and I silently patted myself on the back for deciding to stay home to let him get some much needed rest. Then I stretched out my arms for a good morning stretch and as my fingertips grazed the top of my chest, I noticed a lump in the top left-hand side of my chest.
I focused in on the spot in disbelief but yes, it was there, a round, hard ball in the top left-hand side of my breast. I wish I could say that I am a responsible adult female and regularly do self-examinations to check for this sort of thing, but I don’t. I often forget that I’m now 31 and I’m really not as young as I used to be. My daughter was still chattering away but my world ceased to move for the moment. The logical side of my brain said “Don’t panic, Melissa. This could be anything. It’s nothing to worry about. Don’t panic.” The emotional side of my brain flashed the unthinkable…my children growing up without me there, the worst possible scenario, the pain and suffering that comes with the dreaded “c-word.” I decided to call the doctor.
I had thought that they may tell me to give it a couple of weeks to see if it would go away…maybe it was hormonal. But that’s not what the nurse practitioner said. Instead, she asked if I could make it in at 11:15 today. I thought about my son and his health but knew I had to go. So I said I would be there and phoned my mom to see if she minded to watch the kids for an hour. Thankfully, Jace woke up feeling better than he has over the past week and he was excited to go to grandma’s. I went to the doctor and again, I thought that maybe she wouldn’t notice the lump during the examination…that maybe it’s my imagination. But no, she immediately found it and agreed that it was there and it is not normal.
It’s odd…the feeling that I got at that moment. I try to be very logical in life but that is not my natural place. Naturally I’m more emotional, artistic and passionate. But those skills don’t serve me well in times like these. So when the doctor explained that my lack of family history in breast cancer and my age are good indicators that the lump could be non-cancerous, I just sat and listened trying to not react in one way or the other. She told me it could be a number of things and that she wouldn’t jump to cancer. It could be hormones, caffeine, a cyst, a non-cancerous tumor….or it could be cancer. She said we would schedule an appointment for a mammogram (I didn’t think I had that coming for some time yet…bummer) and an ultrasound. As she left the room so I could dress, I felt total and complete shock. This is not what I expected today. As I worked with the receptionist, I held back tears and tried to act normal. Thankfully, the hospital can fit me in tomorrow, so my wait will not be long.
My husband called as I was leaving the office and I broke down. This is scary. There’s no other way to lay it out there. I think I’m going to be fine. But knowing ALL of the possibilities, how can a person in this position not be scared? I went home to an empty house and sat down in my living room on the steps. I put my hands together and I prayed. I pray everyday, but today, in this moment of helplessness, I felt closer to God than I have in a long time. I prayed that God is with me over the next day, that He helps me to be strong. I prayed that He helps me to do His will and accept His will, whatever that may be. And I prayed that if it is His will, that my tests tomorrow turn out a positive result. And if His will is the opposite, if I get bad news tomorrow, that He is with me to help me take the next steps.
The truth is that whatever is in my body is already there. Good, bad or indifferent, it is there. It is only by God’s grace that I’m even here now to write this. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. I have been so blessed in my life with more than I deserve. I pray that I’m given the grace to grow old with my husband and my children but I don’t know if that is my path. My blog is named “No Luck Necessary.” Have you wondered why? It’s not because I think I’m so great that I don’t need luck. It’s because I don’t believe in luck at all. Everything I have and everything I am is a product of God’s grace. I have tested this theory throughout my life, pushing my limits. I am living proof of His grace for us. Now, today, I pray that He has a little more left for me.
I’m not sure if I should be sharing this. The only people I’ve even spoken about this to are my husband, my mom, and my mother-in-law. I hesitate to share this with all of you. It is so deeply personal. I started this blog three months ago because I had an overwhelming calling to write. Something inside me kept saying that I needed to write. I don’t know why or if it will ever develop into anything more than a past-time, a hobby, a therapeutic outlet. But if one person reads this and relates, one person goes home and does that self-examination tonight, one person has hope and strength when they’re in the same position in the years to come, then I’ll be happy with my decision to put it all out there. If you are reading this, please add me to your prayer list tonight, along with all of those people in the world awaiting test results or those who have gotten the test results back and are battling for their lives. There are so many who need prayers and I believe in the power of prayer. By God’s grace, I’ll look back on this day in the weeks, months, and years to come and it will be a passing memory, a false alarm. But only by God’s grace, there is no other way.
3 thoughts on “Grace Carried Me Here, and by Grace, I Shall Carry On”
You will be in my prayers tonight. If it makes you feel any better I too felt a lump a couple of weeks ago and as I am still breastfeeding I thought oh it’s silly I’m sure it’s just a clogged milk duct but after going to the doctor and have an ultrasound I found out it was not. Thankfully the radiologist got back to me with the results the same day as doing my ultrasound and it is just a cyst that they are going to watch. It still makes me nervous though because I check it everyday and make sure that it doesn’t grow or isn’t becoming painful.
Thanks Shannon. I’m sorry to hear you had to go through the same experience but it is nice to hear that it is a cyst versus something more dangerous. You’re baby girl is about the most gorgeous little thing I’ve ever seen, by the way. I’m so happy for you and Josh. Thanks for reaching out to me and for the prayers. I appreciate it!
I believe in God and the Grace he provides for us. God will never give you anything you couldn’t handle. Our Trials and tribulations make us who we are today and from where I’m standing, you are standing strong. Prayers continually coming your way. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.
Take care and God Bless.