Well, I’m still here, more or less, for better or for worse. I apologize for not commenting more on your blogs. I think about you often, but the truth is, I haven’t felt well for a few months now, so I’ve saved my energy for the countless chores the summer season brings (gardening, mowing, weeding). Commenting (and writing emails) has always been very hard for me anyway—it literally takes me hours—because in the same way that I find talking difficult (and I do), I find commenting so, as well. It’s too much like talking. I can write an essay more easily than I speak.
I assumed it was just my heart acting up again. I’ve had arrhythmias in the past (and had catheter ablation surgery for it), so I worried that I’d have to have that again. It finally got bad enough that I went to the doctor for the first time in nine years. They did find heart irregularities (mostly related to sleep apnea) for which they gave me medicine, but they found something else, too.
They found breast cancer. Invasive lobular carcinoma, in fact. Unfortunately, lobular is a sneaky kind of cancer—it tends to not show up on mammograms. Mine didn’t. It showed on ultrasound just enough to do the biopsy. Next week, I’ll have a breast MRI (which is the most definitive imaging technique for invasive lobular carcinoma) to see if it’s also in the other breast (which loblular often tends to be). This will help me decide what kind of treatment to have. I have hard choices ahead. Surgery is a certainty—either lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy, depending on what the MRI shows.
Initially (in fact, right up to this very moment ) I wasn’t going to share this on my blog. I honestly felt I couldn’t bear to write about yet another crisis in our life. After a while, you start to feel like a freak—like there must be something seriously wrong with someone who has such bad luck, and you feel something close to shame. So you withdraw—at a time that you most need a loving hand to hold. I’ve told very few people so far—mostly those I’ve known for years, whom I trust to love me no matter what. I’m afraid I have no words of wisdom or inspiration right now. I’m all spent. Truthfully, I’m posting because I want to sincerely ask for your prayers. Or if you aren’t the praying type, your very best thoughts. I think I’ve never been in more need of it.
It’s funny that I say that because I’ve never felt more angry at God than I do now. There, I’ve said it. Might as well–He knows it anyway. And I can’t seem to pray for myself. I can pray—easily—for others (and I do). But not for me. Every time I try, I start crying and can’t stop. But, despite my anger (which, in part, is born of faith—how could you be angry at someone you don’t believe exists?), I still believe in prayer.
And yes, yes, of course I know I should be thankful for all the good in my life. Trust me—I am. I’m human, so as humans, we’re subject to crazy, conflicting feelings. “What the heck, God??” can co-exist with “Thank you, God.” So along with my screaming “Why?” I whisper, “Thank you.” Many times a day. In fact, just now a mockingbird, still young and breast-speckled, landed in the shrub next to the window, looked in at me, and cocked his head. He looked so comical, I laughed out loud. And said, “Thank you.”
I don’t know when I’ll write again. After the MRI, when they’ve gotten a better look under the hood, I expect things to start moving pretty fast. So if you write me, and I don’t write you back, please don’t think I don’t appreciate it. It’s just that now, I’m trying to stuff my addled head with enough information about breast cancer treatment to make an informed decision about my own care. There’s a lot to read, and it’s hard reading. Not only because it’s full of medical terminology that makes my head spin, but because the stories that so many brave ladies tell on the Breast Cancer Discussion Boards break my heart.
So, if you’ve read this far, I thank you for not turning away. And I’m grateful for every single good thought and prayer for me you send into the firmament. I can’t seem to bring myself to plead my cause with God, so I need you to do it for me. Please. I’ll take all I can get—greedy supplicant that I am. And I thank you with all my heart.