Monday, January 30, 2012

Unexpected findings

As part of the medical procedures that I'll start next month, I had to have my annual midwife checkup last week. I've never been bothered by the "girl doctor", so I wasn't really thinking too much of it. I was more concerned with getting all my OB records sent to the fertility clinic. While meeting with the midwife and filling her in on all the surrogacy stuff during my breast exam, I heard words I've never heard before in relation to me: "palpable lump". Took a minute for that to sink in. She didn't seem overly concerned, but given my family history of breast cancer, plus the fact that I wouldn't be able to have a mammogram while pregnant, she referred me to the breast center to be on the safe side. Anyone who knows me knows that my logical side usually kicks in during a situation like this. And it did. For about 30 minutes. Then the following thoughts came in rapid succession: my aunt died at age 33 of breast cancer, my grandmother in her 50's, a friend of mine was just diagnosed at the age of 28. Then the biggest irrational thought of all: I have had many many many years of such an amazing life and blessings: is this karma sneaking up on me at last?
Since my beloved Aunt Rhonda, (nicknamed "Stella" when she was being full of herself) passed away when I was 9, breast cancer has been a big scary monster under the bed for me and all the women in my family. She was the oldest of 4 girls, my mom's big sister, my soulmate in many many ways. We had so much in common, including our birthdays being 2 days apart and we look eerily alike.  Her death was devastating to my family full of strong women. All of us prayed to reach the age of 33 in good health, and thankfully, all of us did. My mom had a couple of scares, and I'll never forget going with her to have an ultrasound, waiting for the verdict. So here I was, in the same position. My world turned upside down.
I didn't tell anyone except Russell and my mom, because I didn't want anyone to worry needlessly and because I don't handle sympathy very well. I had to wait all weekend to schedule my mammogram, and let me tell you, it was a very long weekend. Finally, this morning, I secured an appointment for today. After dropping the kids off at the sitter, I broke down. Russell was already in the middle of his day, as neither of us expected to have an appointment so soon. So I called my bestie Charlene to go with me. Thankfully she was able to come, cause I couldn't have done it without her. That ridiculous sense of humor and the promise of a margarita after, no matter what, really helped.
At the appointment I had a mammogram (my second one ever) that proved inconclusive. Great. Immediately, I thought they were trying to think of the right way to break the bad news. I was thinking of having to leave my kids without a mom, my husband without a wife, my mom without her daughter, the intended parents without their surrogate. Then I went back for an ultrasound with the sweetest tech ever who really made me feel more comfortable than the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy nurse who did the boob squishing. Apparently, there is no lump, just really dense breast tissue. I cried for about the 10th time today. Relief doesn't even begin to describe it.
With a clean bill of health, I'm ready to move on in this process. But more importantly, I have an even greater appreciation for my incredible life. I know it was only a false alarm, but it changed me deeply, fundamentally, forever.


  1. Chas, this pulled on my heart strings. I had a breast lump situation when I was in college and I remember having the ultrasound with inconclusive results and having to have the lump biopsied and waiting for that phone call to get the results... stressful and thought provoking to say the least. I ended up having surgery to have the lump removed and I can definitely identify with the new lease on life aspect. I'm so glad you're safe and healthy, this world has so much left to learn from you!

  2. Chastity, I just walked in your shoes this past Oct.- Nov. I found what appeared to be 2 lumps in the middle of Oct. Over the next 6 excruciatingly long weeks, I replayed way too many morbid and heart wrenching scenes in my mind over and over again. The day before Thanksgiving after my 2nd ultrasound and before my biopsy, I was told that they weren't lumps at all but fibrous breast tissue. Hallelujah! I have never felt more relief in my entire life. I absolutely will not be taking my good health for granted. I'm so glad to hear that you are well. What a special and life changing journey you are about to embark on to help create a family for another couple. You are my hero of the day. I wish you blessings and continued good health over the next year. ~ Martha