Two days after we got that initial diagnosis, we decided to tell Ava and Nate what was going on. We knew we'd be on the phone a lot with family, and of course telling friends and church members here. So we didn't want them to overhear anything that would frighten them. They were both in the living room watching iCarly, so we asked them to pause it for a minute, that we had something to tell them.
Mom has some bad cells in her body, we told them. (They know, in a vague sense, what cells are.) She has to have surgery to take the bad cells out, or they will grow and could make her really sick. Nate started to look worried at this point, but then he started to get interested in the whole surgery thing. Would they put me to sleep? Would they cut me open? Would it hurt? After it was over, would I please tell him what it felt like? I could tell he was thinking, "This is gonna be pretty interesting."
I referenced Becky and her experience while we were talking, and Ava asked "So does this mean your hair is going to fall out?" Maybe, I told them. I told them I might have to take some medicine after the surgery. "You know how some medicine you take makes you better, but it can also make you feel sleepy, or can make your stomach hurt? This medicine is like that. It will help me get better, but it will also make my hair fall out." We told them we didn't know yet if I'd need to have that. They nodded, they were okay with that answer. Then, in talking about the surgery, I mentioned that the "bad cells" were in my boob. Nate gasped. "You mean they're gonna see YOUR BOOB?" Then he covered his mouth and started laughing. And then I knew they were okay. And then the iCarly episode was un-paused.
So, yeah they're gonna see my boob. As Rachel from Friends once said, "That's okay--I've got nice boobs." As far as the surgery goes, I'm not nervous--about the actual process, I mean. I'm not nervous about hospitals or afraid of needles. Of course, it's more the outcome I'm thinking about. The million dollar question: will the sentinel node have cancer cells in it, or not? If it does, that means we are in for a longer journey than I'm hoping for. If it does not, then I'll feel like I'm super fortunate. I'm trying not to think too far ahead at the moment.
And the strange thing is...I feel fine. I really do. I mean, I'm not happy about this, or excited. But the last 2 weeks have been more of a digging in of my heels and a squaring of my shoulders kinda thing. Like, okay if I have to do this then let's just do it. I was telling this today to a lady from the hospital who called to check on me. She identified herself as a "Breast Navigator", which... let's just stop for a moment and snicker like 13 year old boys at that job title. Cause it's up there. Way up there.
Anyway, her role is to basically help patients navigate through their treatment, answer questions and give information at each stage, as well as emotional support. She asked how I was doing and I told her. I shared that I was anticipating an emotional low after the surgery when things slow down a bit. Up till now, there have been appointments, phone calls, arrangements to make...not to mention the everyday stuff that comes with three little kids and pastoring a church. It's been easy to distract myself.
So we'll see how we go. I've given up obsessing over how I feel and wondering why I don't feel something else. This is working for me right now, so I'm gonna go with that.
My surgery isn't till early afternoon tomorrow, but I'm sure someone will check in here and let y'all know how everything went. Thank you for all your sweet comments, emails, and thoughts. You are the wind beneath my wings, guys! You are the real breast navigators in this story. And that's the truth.