How I Wish…

Jeff came in last month and told me we were most likely going to lose our heath insurance.   The economy is bad and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa was going to jack our rates 26% this year.  Last year the rates jumped 12% but we bit the bullet and forked out extra.  This year, though, his job just couldn’t take that kind of increase and informed him they would be dropping BCBS and they would start looking for other insurance.  I freaked.  We finaly have good coverage.  Who knows what kind of coverage we were about to get and now everything going into the new insurance may be considered pre-existing.  I spent a day and loaded up the calendar with doctor appointments.  Everyone was going to go in to have well-child checks, immunizations, yearly physicals, eye surgeon appointments, ENT visits to discuss Tonsills and adenoids, swabs, cultures, and imaging.  You name it, I was on it. 

I got the children all taken care of along with a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy for Jasmine.  I am still working on getting Jeff in, but he’s one of those guys that doesn’t feel it necessary to see a doctor.  Then I turned my attention to me.  I had already gone in for a physical back in September.  I’m required to have one done yearly for my job as a child care provider.  At that time I was given orders to go in for my yearly mammogram.  It was scheduled for over Christmas break when I would have a week off and could go to that appointment alone.  I was planning on doing that until I received word that my grandmother would be undergoing surgery for a brain tumor on January 6, 2009. 

I had a week off to get caught up on my life–mountains of paperwork, laundry, and Christmas shopping to do.  I had been looking forward to it all year.  It had been a long and emotionally and financially draining year for me and I really needed the respite seeing that my online classes were about to finish up.  As my vacation approached, I really began feeling those stirrings of emotion welling up.  I began worrying terribly that my grandmother may not make it through the surgery and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to see her.  Those feeling became overwhelming and I knew that it was my number one priority to find a way to get to her before she went into surgery.  I informed Jeff I had decided to spend my vacation time in Virginia visiting my relatives.  It had been ten years since I had been out and I wanted to go to the mountains.  It was all I could think about.  I became consumed with the idea of holding my grandmother’s hands in mine. 

I looked at the calendar and rearranged all those appointments that were going to take place while I was away and I remember vividly calling to cancel the mammogram.  The woman on the other end of the phone asked if I would like to reschedule it at that time and I said, “no”.  I figured I would do that when I got back and could figure out a day that would work with my existing schedule.  Once we returned from our trip, though, my life took hold again and I was once again completely swamped with work and kids and details.  I forgot about the mammogram.  It wasn’t until the threat of losing our insurance came along that reminded me that I needed some imaging done and needed to book that as soon as possible.

On January 20, I went in for my routine mammogram.  I thought nothing of it.  I’d had a couple before and although they aren’t particularly comfortable they don’t last long and I knew I’d be on my way within a half hour or so.  The nurse that brought me into the imaging room went through the standard questions:

“How are you today?”

“Fine”, I replied.

“This won’t take long, but I need to ask you, is there any history of breast cancer in your family”. 

“No, not that I’m aware of.  Although, my paternal grandmother was believed to have it, but that would have been a very long time ago and they lived in Europe and were very poor.  It was never diagnosed conclusively”.

“That’s fine, it usually runs on the mother’s side of the family”, she remarked.

I thought about it and realized how important it is to keep track of those pieces of family history.  After running down the list in my head–mom, no; grandma–no; aunts, Ginny-no; Pam–no; Linda–no; Robin–no; Dawn–no; Edie–no; any first cousins–no; my sister–I really don’t know.  I hadn’t seen or spoken to her since I was six years old  So, I don’t know, but I pray she never did. 

My answer was, “no”.

“Have you had any problems in the past year”, the woman asked.

“No–well, I’m not sure.  My boobs have been sore lately.  The right one more than the left one.  I just think it’s because I’m juggling 3 kids, 3 jobs, 3 online courses, a bazillion schedules, a household, etc.  and I have just started drinking caffeine again.  I’m probably just fibrocystic.  I also stay up all night studying and when I go to bed, I’m usually so tired lately, I just fall asleep in my bra.  It’s probably that my boobs are just confined all day and I’m sleeping on them wrong and they are getting even more squished in my bra.  Oh, and another thing, I don’t think my milk has dried up yet.”

“How long has it been since you nursed your last child”, she asked.

“Probably 2 years”, I replied.  “I think I need to tell my family doctor to just give me that pill to help me dry up”.

“How do you know it’s milk?”, she asked.

 “Well, because I have never dried up.  I have had milk in me for over 17 years now.  It feels like my boobs are heavy and kind of full.  Oh, and because my right one has been discharging.”

The nurse looked at me funny.  I remember that.  Honestly, though, I know what my boobs have done for the past 17 1/2 years, and I never imagined it was anything else.  She asked me to come up to the imaging machine where she proceeded to place each boob in the pancake masher.   She took the pictures she needed, I clenched my teeth and tried not to move or breathe.  I stood there with my boobs exposed and a strange woman trying to get them into just the right position. 

“This would be so much easier for her if I had big boobs”, I thought.

“Ok, we’re all through”, she said.  “If we find anything, we’ll give you a call”.

I was released from the vice and allowed to go get dressed.  “The things women go through…”, I muttered.

I stepped out into the sun and drove home to start work, looking forward to a fun day with all the kids I watch.  It would be a busy day, as usual.  For a moment, as I paused at a red light, I wondered…”what if they find something…”.  The light turned green, and I moved through the intersection.  The thought was gone just as quickly as it had appeared. 

Looking back, there are signs that leave me wondering if something in the universe, my subconscious, or God himself was trying to tell me something.  My absolute need to go see my relatives.  Was it a sign that I might not see them for a long time or if at all again?  My wandering mind that lingered and wondered about something that surely would turn out to be nothing at that red light…did my body know something my conscious mind didn’t and was it trying to tell me something?  All those symptoms I described to the nurse, had I really been tuned into the inner workings of my body and was I listening–even half heartedly?

It’s funny, when you get those signs, you usually dismiss them.  It’s not until you hit rewind and start analyzing every detail that you see them.  How I wish I could see those signs as I am approaching them.  How I wish I could see those signs as I am in the midst of them.  How I wish I could hear what my body and mind and God are trying to tell me.  How I wish…


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. PM
    Feb 14, 2009 @ 13:45:53

    What is the next step in the process? Do you have dates for proceedures? We pray and pray that you and your family are safe in everyway. We are sorry you are having to deal with this but we are impressed with your beautiful depth of wisdom. Love, pm and hm.


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Started Tracking on 12-1-09

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