Monday, November 5, 2007

freaking out

on friday i woke with upset tummy (nerves) and fretted the morning away before my appointment at OHSU radiology for my mammogram and ultrasound. oh, i tried to shake it off, i went to the studio, but that was useless. all i could manage was making to-do lists.

shit. breast tumor or not, i have a holiday show in two weeks to prepare for!

the staff at OHSU was wonderful, i have to say. warm and calming. the woman taking the mammogram was so gentle and tuned into the moment, it was very reassuring. she talked me through every step.

while i waited for the doctor to review my films and to be called for the ultrasound, i read my bookclub pick for the month.
down the nile: alone in a fisherman's skiff, by rosemary mahoney. she's an engaging enough storyteller to let me mentally escape the reality of my situation for a while. what a comfort a good book can be.

unlike six years ago, i was prepared for what i might see on the ultrasound and i came informed about phyllodes tumors. still, it was shocking, seeing the tumor on the screen. so dark and solid, shaped like an apricot. and even though i know that these tumors are made from my own breast tissue, gone bad - it still looked and felt alien.
an invader in my soft places.

the radiologist was a wonderful woman, very positive and straightforward. in her opinion, the tumor presents exactly like a phyllodes tumor. that's supposed to be the good news. and i guess,
yes, it is better news than a mass that presents like cancer, is obviously all over the place, growing into every corner of the breast. this phyllodes presenting tumor is compact, solid unto itself and can be plucked out of the body by a good surgeon. until today, i was still holding on to a slim chance that my instincts were wrong and it was just a cyst, something that would go away on its own.

when i drove away from the hospital, it hit me. i hadn't cried yet. suddenly it was a huge wave of grief. driving over the ross island bridge, i called my sister in chicago, she let me cry. i had felt so lonely at the appointment and deep, irrational self-pity took hold. you know, 90% of the time, i'm so busy and happy in my life, i don't miss having a partner. but when shitty things happen, i feel the space there beside me grow. i feel how empty that space is. so i cried about needing my mother to come out to be with me, at age 41, during the surgery.

my married sister brought me back to reality, she said if she was 60 and mom was 80 and she needed surgery, she would still want mom to be there. you
never stop needing your mom, no matter how old you are and how supportive your partner may be.

vital stats on the turnip: it's about 2 inches by 1 inch right now, but they grow rapidly.

so today i call the breast nurse and she will get me an appointment with a surgeon. i'm praying things fall into place quickly so i can plan my life. find my mom a flight, decide how much work i can take on in december, the biggest gift sales month of the year.


salmonpoetry said...

Hang in there, Tay, hang in there. Be thankful you have your mom and have healed your relationship with her and take advantage of her support as much as you can! And the support of others around you, too. Ask and you will receive. I will keep you in my thoughts as you uproot this overgrown turnip.

Sondra, Jenni's Mom said...

You are a strong woman, Tay, you can do this. Let your mother "Mother" you. It is a gift for her that her girl needs her.
I send much energy and spirit your way.
(Jenni's Mom)

Claire said...

I'm thinking of you Tay. Hang onto your support network, there is no need for you to go through this alone.

Tay said...

Lisa, Sondra, Claire...thank-you! Your messages are so deeply encouraging.

Just writing this blog is a big step, as I classically really struggle to ask for help and show my vulnerable side.

bless you.