6 years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer.
And maybe, on another day, I will go into more detail about it.
But, don’t start thinking it is an interesting story and courageous battle.
It wasn’t. It was simple. As far as cancer goes.
But, it was still cancer.
Nothing changes that.
But, today …
Today, I just need a hug.
And my girls had one for me.
A brief one.
Before they ran off to play.
They are blissfully unaware.
So, instead, I think I’ll wrap myself in a cozy blanket …
… maybe read my library book …
… maybe paint my nails.
(If I can find an extension pole for my nail polish brush. … I’m pregnant. … My feet and I are currently experiencing a separation – Sorry, feet, it’s me, not you, maybe some day …)
And maybe … maybe … that will be just the “hug” I need.
It has been quite a week.
A bit of stress.
A little exhausting.
About a week ago, as I told you, Texas Guy and I spent the day driving to the big city for an ultrasound for the baby and then another city for the mass on my thyroid. (mass … nodule … I’ve heard it called many things … I was thinking about naming it … until a friend suggested we call it “Gone” – She’s brilliant, that one.)
Then I had to schedule an ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (biopsy).
It was scheduled for Monday. … Then they rescheduled it for Tuesday. … Aauuggh, the waiting, extended!
But, I have had biopsies before. Since it’s on my neck, it’s a little creepy. And it’s not as much fun as not having a biopsy – duh. But, otherwise, easy peasy. So, I was eager to get that step done, moving me closer to the next step – biopsy results, so I know where to go from there. I like to have a game plan, I like to move forward, it’s good for me. Waiting is not moving. Waiting is not good for me … not in regards to this.
Biopsy day came and I was up bright and early.
I am not (not) (at all) (in any sense) a morning person. This does not make for a great start for a day. However, it does get it done and over with. And it does get Texas Guy back to work as soon as possible. (As much as I don’t handle waiting well, he doesn’t handle missing work well even more. … It’s hard not to be jealous or begrudge his work. Hello, remember me? I tried giving him pictures of the kiddos and I to take with him during the day so he might remember us. The pictures never left the house. … I’m on a tangent. … It’s been quite a week.)
So, off we went for the biopsy. If that was a fine needle aspiration, then I’m 5’6″ with a perfect figure and no stretch marks, I can sing like Snow White and her chorus of birds, and Texas Guy doesn’t laugh at me every time he sees me dance! I was sure he had dissected the entire left side of my neck. Gracious, was I glad that was over with. My sister text me to see how it went. So, rather than … think … I’m just going to share my response to her …
It sounds like it went well. I heard one of the women (I don’t remember anyone’s title) tell the guy (See? Don’t remember.) a couple of times that there was good “stuff” (again, not proper term – I could never write scripts for medical shows) in a couple of the “passes” (he actually used that term – yet it is still not the right term for this instance – feel free to pretend we are playing Mad Libs). So that sounds good. … As for me, it was much more unpleasant than the other two times – blech!! He went in 9 separate times. The last two times [biopsies] they went in once and then got multiple “samples” without removing the needle. And even at that, getting the “samples” was no big deal. This time felt like he took samples of my thyroid and whatever else is in my neck (biology – my least favorite subject in school and I refer to everything in our bodies as “guts”.) Then he decided to go ahead and go in one more time! (Well, sure, it’s not his neck. Ha.) Now I’m surprised there’s any of the nodule left!
Did you actually read all of that?! I think my sister did, too. And I don’t know why. She must reeeeeaaallly love me! … You must, too!
I got home, feeling worn out, and laid down.
I wondered if I looked as bad as I felt.
So I took a picture of myself.
Turns out, as I already knew – I look horrible in pictures, but I did not look as bad as I felt.
And then, back to waiting.
Two days until the results.
So, here’s the thing …
Waiting for biopsy results when you’ve never had cancer is not at all the same as waiting for the results once you have. Intellectually, you know the same things – for the most part. It’s the fact that despite what you know, there is always this little bubble that surrounds you. You don’t know it’s there, but it is. Even if you have known someone who has had cancer. Even if you have lost someone to cancer. Having cancer, inside your own body – it’s just a different ballgame. It’s like life before and after becoming a parent. You can know. You can glean from others. But, it’s not the same as actually becoming a parent. And I’m sure there are lots of other situations that are similar to this. …
Back to the bubble … You don’t know it’s there. But you know when it’s gone.
And, so this time, I was waiting for results without the bubble.
I rode, as Texas guy drove me to my appointment, without the bubble.
But, it was nice to have someone with me at all these appointments this time. I have oftentimes gone through this alone.
I also had lots of texts and messages full of an outpouring of love, prayers, and support from friends and family everywhere.
And the Lord is with me every step of the way.
So, shortly before we arrived, I put my game face on. I was bracing myself for the worse so I would be strong and solid and prepared for battle. Ready for the game plan so I knew where I was headed when I moved forward. Ready to hit the ground running, so don’t stand in my way.
It’s how I cope.
I waited in the waiting room … no bubble.
And then prepared for the news, whatever it may be.
And today, it was good news.
The samples were good, and they were clean.
No signs of cancer.
* whew *
As we walked back to the truck, Texas Guy was talking to me about the results, seemingly trying to assess what was going on.
He said –
That’s good news. I seem more excited than you do.
I felt bad.
It was the game face.
It takes a while to take it off.
And I don’t ever do it until I’m in my vehicle. Or sometimes at home.
But never on the “field”.
I don’t like to feel vulnerable when I’m out on the field.
And the waiting of the past week. The concerns and worries. It builds up. And it takes a few minutes for the good news to get through all that that lies beneath the game face that was ready for battle.
So, I had from the time we left the office until we reached home full of small, unaware children to come to grips.
A few moments later, as it started to sink in through all the stress, I found myself tearing up a little.
To which Texas Guy asks,
Are you leaking?
Is it because he’s a guy? Because he’s a Texan? Or is it just him?
Whatever it is, I knew there wouldn’t be any hugs in my near future either.
But, the monkeys were home and they would have hugs for me.
We opened the door and walked in … I smiled to the little people I had birthed over the years … as the youngest one ran forward with a big smile on her face … right past me … to her daddy.
Where is my nail polish? My library book? My blanket?
I need a hug.