“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
Proverbs 31:25 NLT
That is the scripture that ran through my mind when the doctor told me he found a lump in my right breast.
It was supposed to be a normal day. Seeing as I am a stay at home mom to two boys under the age of two, the term “normal” is relative; but still, normal enough. Usually my husband meets me for doctor appointments, because juggling two kids while having to be examined isn’t exactly a walk in the park (Side note: The person who invented this saying, clearly has never pushed a double stroller holding the combined weight of two children around the park). That day however, he was stuck at work. It was fine, I knew there were going to have to be some appointments he couldn’t make, he does have a business to run. Thankfully, since I was once a Girl Scout (once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout), I am typically always prepared – so I had loaded up the double stroller in the back of my SUV before we hit the road.
It was supposed to be a normal routine checkup. We would be in and out in no time. I talked to my husband on the way to the doctor’s office, and we discussed trivial things, like how our oldest son HAD to wear his cowboy boots…again, and if I had remembered to tithe. Before we got out of the car, I told him I would call him after my appointment to let him know how everything went.
As I waited to see the doctor, I played peek-a-boo with my youngest. When the nurse called my name, she had a big smile on her face and greeted each of my boys with the same cheerful tone. I was thankful to have a nurse who has kids of her own; if anyone can extend grace during a checkup with young children, it’s a fellow mom.
She took my stats, and the doctor was in to see me in no time (which is highly unusual, because everyone knows you have to wait a minimum of thirty minutes before you are allowed to see a doctor…duh). The doctor commented on the cuteness of my children and their matching pumpkin shirts, asked how the transition with two children was, and then proceeded with my exam.
He checked my lymph nodes first – something I have never actually paid attention to. I’ve never thought twice about the importance of him feeling my throat and listening to my lungs. He then proceed with my breast exam, which is always super awkward for me. A little less embarrassing once you’ve given birth, but somehow chatting about holiday plans with your physician while you’re half-naked, doesn’t exactly top my list for ideal small talk scenarios.
Then, a brief pause.
The doctor called his assistant over, and she felt the same spot where he had come to a standstill. As she finished the exam, the doctor said, “I found a small lump at the 6 o’clock position on your right breast. It’s soft, so it could be anything. Since you’re still nursing, I’m thinking it could even be a clogged duct. Your lymph nodes aren’t swollen, but we are still going to look in to this. I am going to get you set up with the radiologist so you can have an ultrasound and we can take a closer look at what is going on.”
(Insert stunned face here.)
The remainder of the exam breezed by. I’m not even sure I heard much of anything else after that. I could feel the warm salty tears build up, but managed to keep them contained until the room cleared. My youngest was fussing – so I willed myself to stand, and within a matter of a moment I was back in mom mode, as if the prior conversation hadn’t even taken place.
I’m not saying you can’t have emotions when you’re a parent, however, becoming a mom has made me more aware of when to suck it up and when to puddle in to a complete blubbering idiot. Now was the time to suck it up – I still had a full day ahead of me. My sweet babes had no idea where we were, much less, the news I had just received. We still had errands to run, lunch to eat, and naps to take.
We loaded up into the car, and I called my husband, as promised.
The remainder of the day was carried out in a very unusual fashion.
I am typically all about getting things done, checking things off the list, rushing around the house picking toys up, paying bills, and doing laundry. That day however, we played. We laughed. We dug around in the dirt and splashed in the mud. We talked to neighbors, watched cartoons before bed, and wrestled on the floor. We hugged tighter, talked longer, kissed with a purpose.
Like really, truly, deeply lived.
Isn’t it baffling that it takes potentially life-altering news to make you experience life the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed? It makes me wonder how much more fulfilled I would be if I woke up each day and lived life intentionally.
So, why on earth am I sharing all of this with you? My husband is probably reading this right now and thinking, “Aren’t you the one who told me to not say anything?!” Now here I am putting our experience in to print for the whole world to read.
Well, I’m giving you a glimpse in to one of the most personal details of my life for a couple of reasons.
1. If I am being honest, this experience inspired me to write. I mean, writers gotta write, and readers gotta read.
2. I am hoping that by sharing what our family is going through, it will encourage at least one individual to schedule their annual physical. I am hoping that my story will remind you about the importance to check yourself, to stay on top of your health, and to get educated. I’m praying that the purpose behind all of this, is so that I can help save the life of someone by catching an issue before it becomes too late.
What this isn’t: A cry for help.
I want to be perfectly clear that I am not posting this as a “woe is me.” While we definitely appreciate any and all prayers, we are doing good and staying positive. We’ve decided that there is no reason to worry for worry’s sake. I also want to note, that I have only decided to share this information with you, solely because I have felt led to. I truly believe that there is power in sharing your journey with other people, and I definitely believe that peace can be found when your truths are brought out in to the light.
As far as the next step, my doctor’s appointment is scheduled for this Thursday, and I will gladly let you know how it goes.
So what do I hope comes out of this post? Encouragement, inspiration, and support.
Encouragement for those who need to be encouraged to make that doctor appointment. Inspiration to live your life fully, everyday. But most importantly, support. Support for those who need to know they aren’t alone. Support for those going through a tough time. Support for those who simply need support.
All of that being said, this is the one time I am going to ask you to share one of my posts (although, I would love for you to share all of my posts…). Let’s spread the word about the importance of doing at home exams, and getting your annual physical.
When you share this post, tag it with #spreadtheword and let’s do what we can to save a life!
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