A couple of my friends have told me to start a journal about this breast cancer business. In a way, I already have–I recorded my first suspicious mammogram back in October, and how terrifying that was for me, then again Friday, I wrote about having to learn what a DCIS diagnosis meant. Like I said then, as far as cancer goes, this isn’t a bad deal. Cancer with a little “c.”
What I haven’t done is to let my readers, or anyone else for that matter, into my heart to see the fear in there since the diagnosis. Everyone who loves me is praying for me, so I have every reason to go into this with confidence. Still, I’m nervous. I dread what’s to come.
My head and heart are wrapped around the idea that I’m going to be okay, but the rest of my body is rebelling, using sleeplessness and an upset stomach as its weapons.
My body knows and my head remembers what it’s like to be violated. In my lifetime, I’ve had a total of nine surgeries, six of which were major, and regardless that they all had great outcomes, surgery is still a violation. Having strange hands, equipment–even an IV needle–in your body is an invasion, and it’s a violation. Having people you don’t know standing over you while you are bare and vulnerable is an intrusion not minimized by the fact that you’re unconscious. The dread of this intrusion, this invasion under my skin, is reason #1 of why I’m nervous.
Long time ago, I had to go through exploratory surgery to find out what was wrong with me. One of the little nuns in the Catholic-run hospital I was in stopped by my room to “encourage” me. She told me she’d be “praying it’s not cancer.”
“The doctors have already told me they don’t suspect cancer.”
“Well, you never know what they’ll find once they cut you open.”
Although what they found was a ruptured appendix, I’ve never forgotten what the nun said. Maybe that’s #2.
Not surprisingly, #3 is the fear of the unknown. I got an email from someone who has been in my shoes, but her condition was just a bit different, just a bit worse. She told me what to expect afterward–and she is the only one who has. Not everything she said will apply to me, but God bless her for telling me at least that much.
I try to make my doctors tell me what to expect–whether it’ll actually happen or not. If I know, I can handle it.
After one of my surgeries, my regular doctor went out of town and a sub came to see me. I had an unusual pain in my right side, and the doctor said, “It could be kidney stones. You’re prone to kidney stones, you know.”
“You have Crohn’s Disease, don’t you?”
“Then you’re prone to kidney stones.”
The pain wasn’t kidney stones, thank heavens.
When I went back to my regular doctor for a check up, I told him about this conversation and asked him if it were true, because I’d never seen it in my research and he’d never told me. He said it was.
For some reason, it made me mad. “What else are you not telling me?!”
He listed a variety of things that are frightening, but at least I know to what to look for if something funky is going on.
I don’t know why I’m writing all this. I’m not one to keep a journal–does stuff like this go in it?
Anyway, now you know: I’m nervous. I dread this. I’m a tad bit scared of the procedure itself and the recovery afterward. They tell me that, compared to what I’ve been through, this’ll be a cakewalk. Probably. Doesn’t make waiting for it any easier. Every day that goes by, the IV needle gets longer and blunter, the incision gets bigger, the amount of tissue to be removed grows exponentially.
Maybe that’s why I write. Hyperactive imagination.
It’s natural to worry; but good for you for using your gift of writing to sort things out–get them into the light where you can see them and see through some of them. I haven’t stopped praying daily for you since last week.
Thank you, Carol. I appreciate your prayers.
I’ll pray for your peace, quick healing, and for you to feel God’s presence. He’s right there with you. He told me so.
I’m so glad you’re sharing with us. This is a time for journaling! You’ve been so great about sharing all kinds of good writing info with us. Now we can give back some love and prayers to you.
I appreciate all the love and prayers I’ve been getting since the diagnosis. Thanks so much, Pat!
Wow, Linda. So glad you decided to let me in. (I’m taking this very personally, as though you’d written only to me. And I imagine every one of your friends has the same sensation about now.) You are still a very amazing woman. A real woman with real emotions. Funny your worry effects you just like mine does. Nausea and sleeplessness.
I’m facing something very minor by comparison. Yet it was affecting me the same way. And I was getting worn out. Last night I talked to God about it. I told Him I didn’t want to worry any more, and I assigned Him the job of seeing that everything went okay. He gladly accepted. I turned over and went to sleep.
Linda . . . you need to get your rest. To be your best. And to not worry. I know that’s easier said than done. And that will be my constant prayer for you . . . that you can keep your mind occupied with good stuff, and let God do what He does best.
I love you.
Love you too, Lynne! I do good when I keep myself busy–and I’m good most of the time. I talk to God quite a bit, mostly thanking him that this isn’t any worse than it is. But I need the gnome to clean house, because I won’t be able to do it for a bit after the surgery. Don’t forget to send him down the highway!
Linda, I had DCIS four years ago and while I have significantly less of me on one side than the other (and interesting scars from three previous pre-cancer surgeries) and while there were a few frustrations along the way, I have been clear on every scan since. My heart aches for you as I remember the fear — mine, oddly was of losing my hair, which surprised me, because I never thought I cared much about my hair. I get it cut about three times a year, get a perm every two years and pull it back with a headband in the very same style every day. But I really struggled with the prospect of losing it. Gratefully, that never happened as my follow-up treatment didn’t include chemo.
Like you, I’ve had a whole slew of surgeries, and healing from them is sometimes interesting with unexpected surprises along the way. I’m scheduled for surgery again in July for a different issue and have been dragging my feet on scheduling it…just because its surgery and I know what that costs.
I understand Crohn’s too. My Dad’s had that for 30 years.
Sigh…my heart goes out to you, Linda, and my prayers, asking God to comfort you, surround you in His perfect peace and strengthen you for the days ahead. Over the years, I’ve learned to look only five minutes ahead, just doing the next thing, because any more seemed overwhelming. Praying that you can move ahead five minutes at a time, clinging to the One who will never let you go, never leave or forsake you, the One who loves you so much more than you will ever understand…and praying for you from my little corner of this world. 🙂
Thanks for the prayers and understanding, Cindee. Sounds like you’re personally familiar with this. I pray your scans will continue to be clear!
Linda, you have so many Aarons and Hurs surrounding you, willing to lift up you up when your arms and your heart grow tired. Forgive me for the way I put this but it’s what popped into my head when I read this: “Every day that goes by, the IV needle gets longer and blunter, the incision gets bigger, the amount of tissue to be removed grows exponentially.” It sounds like Disney or Pixar is in your head creating evil medical supplies. Sorry. I know. I’m weird! Where is your favorite serene spot to visit? Go there in your mind and rest, just as Lynne said. Praying for your peace, comfort, and healing. (And just be glad you don’t have prostate cancer…talk about invasion! Yikes!)
Ha! That’s it–I’ll blame that growing-needle image on Pixar!
Praying for Norman. Love you!
I am not going to tell you it is going to be okay, because I believe you know that. That you are experiencing periods of fear when you lay down at night doesn’t mean you are afraid, it means you are brave enough to admit it. The greatest salvation that any of us can have is when we recognize the saving grace of our LORD. Paul wrote down what Jesus told him so beautifully, “In your weakest moment, that is when I am the strongest.” So God is strongest when you are weak and you can trust Him that He is right there with you, standing right beside you, even in your time of fear. I have not been in the place where you are standing right now, but I have felt fear in the midnight hour, and I have cried out to the LORD, because I thought He wasn’t there, only to be comforted as I read His word or heard the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to my heart.
God appreciates your honesty because He himself is not a God who can lie. He is not a God of deception. He cannot deceive. So regardless of the fears that attack you, hold on to His word. You have it in your heart and by His stripes you are healed.
You are in my prayers.
Take care, my friend, you are victorious in all things through Christ.
“God is strongest when you are weak.” So true, Pat.
Thanks for your comment and encouragement.
Blessings, my friend!
Doctors’ offices (even the dentist’s) are never fun, but when fear piles on fear, it gets even worse. I have every confidence that this is going to turn out just fine. You’ll be in and out, and it’ll be over before you know it! You’re in my prayers.
Yep, in and out before I know it. That’s probably the reality of it.
Time to turn my imagination off!
Having been through surgeries before, you do have a better idea of what is involved, at least with the surgery. Not knowing is scary. When I was going in for surgery, I kept this thought with me: There is only 60 minutes to life’s darkest hour. Just 60 minutes. Sometimes all we can do is get through the next minute, then the next. Soon, all 60 have passed by. Praying, Linda, not only for a perfect procedure, but also for your peace of mind until then.
Such a thought-provoking comment, Ceci. Thanks for sharing with me, and thanks so much for your prayers.
So many prayers coming from me for you, Ms. Linda.
Thank you, Keaghan!