And it won’t rain always/God’s promises are true/The sun’s gonna shine in His own good time/And He will see you through — Bill & Gloria Gaither
Several weeks ago (mid-June) the girls were piling in my lap and when they leaned back on me I noticed I had some breast tenderness. Not uncommon, because I was still nursing little man around the clock. A few days later I felt a knot that I thought was a clogged milk duct and began to try and get it to release…you know, using all the usual techniques … pumping, nursing in odd positions, hot compress,
Brandon and I mashing on it to try and release it…you know, the usual… ; )
At any rate, none of that worked. Called my OB that Saturday morning because I was having considerable pain in my breast and we decided there could possibly be a mastitis brewing. She prescribed me an antibiotic. I really believe the pain eased off for a few weeks, although in hindsight, I’m not sure if it really did…?
Fast forward a month or so. Antibiotics long gone. Lump in my breast persisting, and pain increasing daily.
Did breast cancer cross my mind? Yes! Did I think it was breast cancer? No. Dr. Google said breast cancer lumps very, very rarely hurt, so mastitis was my story and I was sticking to it. And Dr. Google is always right. Right?
But just in case, and at Brandon’s insistence, I put in a call to my OB. They told me to come in that day. Turns out I had to wait a day or so (car was in the shop), but on Thursday, July 21 I drove to Durham to Duke Women’s Health.
After that very first exam I was sent directly to Duke hospital for an ultrasound and mammogram. I was still thinking this was no big deal, but my mom left work immediately to meet me at the hospital. A mother’s intuition? A couple of hours later a doctor was telling me that I needed a biopsy. I asked when, and they said tomorrow.
By God’s grace (and the kindness of the doctor, I think), they “couldn’t find” an appointment for Friday and so I was scheduled for first thing Monday for the biopsy. Brandon and I were able to enjoy a great weekend up in Virginia with the kids and the family as we celebrated Big MaMaw’s 98th birthday…98 years, wow!
I was nervous about the biopsy and the complications that might follow since I was still breastfeeding. The doctors and nurse were so kind and talked me through all of it. After it was over, I was told that it had many characteristics of a cancerous mass, but we would await the pathology report. We set up a time to call in on Wednesday afternoon for my results.
Brandon came home from work to be with me as we called the doctor. “I’m sorry, but the pathology reports are back and it is cancer.” %^&$# I was upset and a little bit angry. More than that I was worried immediately about how I would take care of the kids.
For the next 30 minutes he shared with us some of the basic information he could tell from the biopsy:
- It is at least a stage 2 cancer
- It is is a ductal carcinoma…the most common “type” of breast cancer, accounting for about 90% of breast cancers
- I would need to see a surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist.
My parents and sister knew my call was scheduled for 2pm – they knew I hadn’t called them with news by 2:20pm – they were at my door at 2:35 when I hung up the phone with the doctor. They knew without me telling them that it was not good news.
The prayers started immediately. Well, actually, they just continued. Right there in my living room as I sat there in shock. I remember my dad quoting the scripture below.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18