I had an experience about 3 weeks ago where one night I felt a twinge of pain in the center of my left breast. I thought it was because perhaps I had pulled or strained something. So I took to massaging it to see if I could disburse the lactic acid that might be forming from said pull or strain. The next morning, that breast blew up to twice the size and was painful and sensitive the way my bout with mastitis was painful and sensitive. I allayed my fears by saying it was a) sudden and b) painful. Two things I was told that breast cancer isn’t usually. And having fibrocystic breasts, swollen cysts, I was told, was par for the course. I contacted my Breast specialist and saw her hoping that she would examine and see that it was a swollen cyst that she could drain and restore me back to normal. After a mammogram and ultrasound, she felt that I needed additional imaging through an MRI that wasn’t able to be scheduled for another 10 days (because of the MRI center’s availabilty as well as needed to wait 7 – 10 days after the onset of my cycle) . So I had to find a way to deal with the pain for that long. I started rubbing black seed oil on it to see if I could get the swelling / inflammation in check. That worked for the most part. But there was a still a hardened mass there. Went to the MRI on Saturday morning and then was set to wait some more for the results.
I had chapter meeting that afternoon but the contrast had me feeling a little out of sorts so I decided I wasn’t going to stay. I really just went to hand out the tickets to Circle of Sisters that I’d promised my chapter Sorors. Fortunately, I bumped into Soror AK who held me and prayed a beautiful prayer over me. I felt the prayer wash over me and felt a tingling through out my body. It made me feel strong. I convinced myself that I would not waste my imagination on worry. It’s out of my hands and there isn’t anything that worrying would resolve.
We also had a marriage counseling session with our therapist that evening. A long session and it had been a month since we had seen him. During the session, we rehashed the issues of our relationship from start to finish. Dug up everything and reexamined decisions made a decade and some ago that still affect us today. Through the session, the therapist turned to me twice at least and questioned me – “Through all that… why did you decide to stay?” He never actually gave me an opportunity to respond. But the answer sat in my mind all night. All morning. All weekend. I know why I ultimately stayed. The reasons are manifold but the pillars of the decision were lack of belief in my ability to find someone else… anyone else who would be interested me that was “as good of a catch” as E; my age in the game and the hope of my dreams of settling down and starting a family were beginning to slip away. And grew so angry with myself for putting my life through these paces. I just never believed in myself. In how pretty I actually was. In how valuable I could be to someone. How cherish-able I am to someone deserving. And because I could never convince myself of these things, I settled in life to give myself to anyone that “would have me” rather than hold out for someone I wanted who wanted me back as much who was actually worthy of having someone like me in their lives.
E sensed my tension through the weekend. I wasn’t directing it AT him. Shit. He is as broken as I am if not more so. I was just upset with myself. This life is short and I had been randomly squandering days and minutes fighting with shadows in the dark to try to make it light.
On Monday they called and said that they saw things on all three exams that they felt needed further exploration. They want to schedule a biopsy. I told E. and in his mind, he started planning my funeral. It’s his defense / coping mechanism. And started to treat me with kindness, tenderness and sweetness. I can’t count how many times I have choked on something I was drinking (wrong pipe as daddy called it) and it went unnoticed – shows continued to be watched or activities continued through the house with out even a yelling across rooms to make sure Ii’d not asphyxiated to death. Last night, it happened again and E sprinted from the kitchen in the midst of washing dishes to “check on me”. I’ve always said he cherishes folks more in death or at the threat thereof than he does while they’re here on earth living and breathing with him. I guess it’s my turn.
Despite convincing myself that I’m not going to worry, I’ve begun telling Athena that no matter where I am… whether she can see me or not, I’m there loving her. This morning she says to me “Mommy, remember what you said to me last night?” I guess that will be our mantra from now on. I certainly don’t want her to grow up without me. I don’t want her to grow up without being completely firm that whether I’m right there in her arms or half way across the universe – that wherever I go, my love will stay with her. I hate that I am “preparing” her for this. I could be preparing her for nothing… I hope I am just preparing her to know that no matter what… mommy loves her always and unconditionally.
They called during this post to schedule me for 9/29 at 10AM. The Friday before my birthday.
God help me.