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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Pink Peak - Part 1

Well, here I am on July 12th (the day that was supposed to shout "freedom!" post Step 1 for Ryan) writing from a world away from where I was a week ago and where we expected to be today. It's been an interesting ride, but, throughout all of it, God is good. 

I am a 29-year-old young mother and I have breast cancer. 

For those of you who are hearing about this for the first time, I'm sorry to blindside you. For those of you who already knew, I'm sorry to have blindsided you. I will share the story from the beginning and  shed more light on the situation and story. So, here it goes...

Roughly seven weeks ago I was driving our little Stella towards town in the St. George's parish in Grenada when I had an impression enter my mind, "Our [our little family] health is fleeting, your health is fleeting, it could all change in a moment. Be grateful for the good health you currently have."

The impression perplexed me for a moment, but I thought, ''It's true, life is really fragile," after which I said a quick prayer of thanks for our health.

Later that day (or week, let's been real, it's running together), as I sat at the kitchen table I said to Ryan, "I think I might get sick." He looked at me inquisitively and asked, "what do you mean?" To which I responded nonchalantly, "Oh, I don't know... cancer?" I told him about the impression and we agreed that maybe scheduling a physical when I got back to the states would be a good idea. We both put those thoughts and conversations at the back of our minds and went on with life.

Fast forward a few weeks to June 17th. As part of our "50 Days of Fitness" I had made the goal to read my scriptures for 30 minutes each day, and at that point I was in Doctrine and Covenants 121. Here is the note I made on Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8 (that reads, "7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; 8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high;"): 
"June 17, 2016 | This evening while reading my scriptures, I found a possible lump in my breast. I was surprised and had quite a few emotions, but at this point with two weeks left in Grenada, there's nothing I can do about it until we leave. I felt peace with the small details of leaving and living that will keep my mind off of it, but then read this verse. No matter what happens, my adversity will be but a short while."
That night I found a lump and Ryan and I agreed that I should make an appointment to see my doctor when I got back, so the next day I called and scheduled the earliest possible appointment which would be on July 5th.

Over the next two weeks I continued to feel that peace. I confided in two close friends in Grenada about it, but very easily put it out of my mind; leaving was getting closer, I was getting sadder, and there was so much to do!

The trip back was pretty uneventful, and after a full Independence day celebration, Adi and started July 5th off with two, no-cavity dentist appointments and some down time. Then, I headed to my doctor's appointment while Adi and Ellis stayed home with family and Ryan.

Before even being examined, I told my doctor, Lisa, the impression that I had had in June, but that I thought it was most likely a fibroadenoma (a common type of lump in women under 30) to which she agreed. I also mentioned that I thought it had grown since I had found it, but that "I'm probably just being paranoid." She said that most likely I was being paranoid, but that we don't mess around with breast lumps, so she'd take a look.

She did a physical exam, during which she said it seemed fine, but that were some slight irregularities so "let's just have an ultrasound, just to be safe." She mentioned that they just happened to have a 10-minute gap between appointments before the tech left for the day. She said we would look for irregular margins and blood flow to see what's going on. Lisa described Joy, the ultrasound tech, and said that Joy was really good and would just tell you how it is and that the radiologist would then officially read the scan.

I went to Joy's office and we started chatting. She started scanning and while doing mentioned that she'd had a scare in January and that she had a lump removed. When she found the lump, it was obvious. It was dark, ominous, and irregular. She mentioned if it were her, she would just have it taken out. And, looking back in retrospect, this is about the time that she became less chatty and more focused on her work. I looked at the screen (now granted I'm not the average patient) and said, "Huh, what percentage of the time do fibroadenomas have irregular borders?" to which she replied plainly, "They don't."

Oh okay.

Ohhhhh. Okay ...

She started looking at the blood flow and the screen lit up. Blue and red dotted here and there and a lot of it centered around the lump, but considering it didn't even remotely resemble an umbilical cord (my previous experience with this) I had no idea what we were looking at.

Joy finished what she was doing and apologetically excused herself from the room to go and chat with Lisa. While she was out I started reading this darling decoration in her office and thought to myself, "What a great sign. Even in a situation like this, we should count our blessings."

When Joy came back, she apologized that it wasn't good news and said that Lisa had gone to lunch --of course she had. It was supposed to be nothing. Joy said they would be in contact about next steps ... maybe a biopsy, maybe a lumpectomy ... and I left.

Now mind you, I didn't have a local phone number at this point, so I approached my dad and told him about what was going on considering his number was the number on file. He was obviously surprised and concerned, but said he would let me know if they called.

I took the kids to their annual doctor's checkups and inquired as to whether he had any messages when I got home. Sure enough, one message: "Ultrasound, tomorrow 1:30, and an address."
"That's it?"
"They didn't say anything else?"
"Well, okay ..."

An ultrasound? Hadn't I just had one? What did they miss?

As I googled the address, it was the same location that Joy had had her lumpectomy and I thought, "Ooooohhhhkay... here we go." As I talked though he Ryan he said, "Oh, well it might be an ultrasound-guided biopsy." Oh, okay, I can handle that. I still didn't know what was going on, so I decided to call them back.

When I reached Lisa's nurse she said, "Oh hi, McKenzie. How are you?" in a delicate voice.

I'm good ...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh ...

I inquired about the message and apparently it was actually from the imagining center.

I guess I was going for a biopsy ...


Our Family

Our Family
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