Here's the dictionary definition of the word biopsy.
bi·op·sy (bps) n. 1. The removal and examination of a sample of tissue from a living body for diagnostic purposes. 2. A specimen so obtained.
It was a whirlwind of a week. I was sick the first week of March. Tired, coughing, swollen lymph nodes, and not feeling "right". I went to the Dr., got some bloodwork and chest x-rays. It came back fine, and he thought it was some sort of virus. I started to feel better, but that lump was still there, and I knew it wasn't right to ignore it. It especially got the best of me at night, lying awake and letting my imagination go to all sorts of scary places. Cancer. Cancer and pregnant. Cancer, pregnant, and having to choose between treatment or a baby. Crying until I fell asleep. And to think, I'm normally pretty logical!!
Joel and I decided it would be good for me to go to Paradise, CA for a few days to be with Donna, help her pack, and begin to wrap my mind and heart around their upcoming divorce. It was hard to leave Eli. If it wasn't for the special "father-son" memories I knew they'd be making, I wouldn't have been able to get on that plane. 4 days, 3 nights, and my first trip without Eli. Heartbreaking! I kept reminding myself it wouldn't have been fair to bring him, and Joel and Eli would have a great time. I thought maybe God had something in store for me with a little more time that usual for reflection and just making decisions for "one".
I got sick on the flight out there. Sore throat. I wanted to just push through, but I was EXHAUSTED. Friday, I did some packing. We went to pick up the moving truck, and I got to see my Dad's old best friend, Steve Williams. Later, we began loading the moving truck. I was feeling twinges and pangs with any lifting, but chalked it up to sickness. That night we went to Chinese Food, which deserves it's own entry, but included the amazing and wonderful news that I'm pregnant! I started trying to think of fun ways to tell Joel, and process the news myself.
My throat hurt like crazy, I was losing my voice, I was tired, bleeding a bit, emotional, fragile, sad for the Seamans, excited about the pregnancy...quite a mess really. We went to the Warings on Saturday, where I shared the news (Joel still didn't know) and Dr. Waring looked at my throat. I mentioned the other swollen lymph nodes and he said I should get them biopsied if it hadn't gone down for over a month. I left telling myself it was nothing. But during the drive home, my imagination kicked into gear. Emotions fueled the fire. Soon tears were streaming down my face, and I decided I needed a voice of reason. My third phone call was to the doctors exchange, where the nurse kindly reassured me that everything would be fine, and had the dr. call me. He was also reassuring, telling me that the x-ray hadn't damaged the baby, I can take Tylenol for my throat, if anything was "really" wrong my body wouldn't let me get pregnant, rest to help stop the bleeding, and that they would see me on Monday for the lymph node. I felt better.
All this, and I still hadn't told Joel! I got home Sunday afternoon, and shared the news that evening.
Monday, I saw a doctor. She said the wanted the lymph node out immediately, and scheduled an appointment with a surgeon. Tuesday, blood draws at the OB, and the bleeding subsided. Wednesday, the appointment with the surgeon, who was 90% sure it was "nothing". Surgery scheduled for Friday. Wednesday night, tears and fear. I had no voice, and tearily croaked through Eli's bedtime stories. Goodnight Moon and I Love It When You Smile never seemed so bittersweet. That night, I wept and tried bargaining with God..."just let me be around long enough so that Eli will know and remember how much I love him...really, it's for the best that you keep me around...it wouldn't be fair to Joel to take someone else from him..." I was pulling out all the stops, even while I knew that what I needed was to SURRENDER. Thursday, blood draw at the OB, lots of kind reassurance about doing the surgery while I was pregnant, and finally feeling a glimmer of the hope that in 90% favorable odds the surgeon had given. Again, this is all crazy because normally, my brain WINS these tug of wars, and it was so clearly not in this case.
So here's my definition of biopsy.
1. The removal of false security and sense of entitlement to a long life.
2. The process of acknowledging God's goodness and authority.
3. The perspective and faith so obtained.
Friday, we dropped Eli off at a friends and went to the hospital. The nurses were great. I felt nervous after the anesthesiologist came in, because he seemed very concerned about me bring pregnant. He cleared the surgery (again) with our OB. They explained that they would "put me under" while they administered the local anesthetic, then bring me out of it to do the rest of the procedure with a light sedative to take the edge off. The whole surgery was supposed to take a half hour. I asked the surgeon if there was anyway he could tell by looking at it. He said there was no good way to know without the pathology reports that would come back the next week, but that everything would fine. "Don't sweat it," he said. It helped. But I didn't know how I would be able to wait A WEEK for those results.
I was surprised when I woke up in the recovery room (instead of surgery) to these words from the nurse, "Honey, you're in the recovery.They didn't need to remove the lymph node after all. It turns out, you had a hernia, and they repaired it."
I croaked "Okay", got grateful tears in my eyes, thanked God, and fell back asleep. In the meantime, the surgeon was out delivering the news to Joel in the waiting room. (He said the surgery took longer because I had several coughing fits, so they had to keep me under and wait to finish the repair."
God answered the prayer I didn't think I "could" pray. To know something when I woke up, and for it to be "nothing" at all. I'll take a femoral hernia over a suspicious lymph node any day.
Later, as the nurse wheeled me to a different room, she said, "We just hate to see people your age, with kids and a young family, in for that kind of surgery. Finding out that you didn't need that biopsy was the best news all day. Congratulations honey."
Joel and I called the OB's office while we were still at the hospital. They said my blood tests results look great, and scheduled an appointment for an ultrasound the next week.In the meantime, I'm pretty sore, supposed to avoid coughing, not lift anything over twenty pounds, and take it easy for a while. : )
A huge burden has been lifted. But I don't want the lesson to be gone with it. We're thanking God for his goodness to us, and the clearer perspective that comes from times like this.
EVERY DAY IS GRACE!