Mammogram, Biopsy I Flunked with a Diagnosis of Ductal Breast Cancer Carcinoma in Situ
by Marijo Phelps
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The refrigerator had “died” for the second time within a month – things were melting all over the place, Sears was coming as I waited for the call regarding my breast biopsy. This was last Wednesday.
Backing up to Biopsy Friday, I have had many biopsies all over my body in the past, in places I’d rather not discuss. They were all benign, A-OK. This one was not a fun biopsy as they hit a place that had managed to avoid the numbing from the anesthesia. I jumped and the tech gently admonished me I couldn’t do that again or they might not get the proper place for the sample. With that she placed a firm hand on my shoulder. Yeah, I think they apologized for the nerve that apparently avoided the anesthetic.
At that point my prayer became simply His name, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus repeated over and over. We had been at this now for almost two hours. The offending part of my anatomy firmly clamped down with three pictures taken so they would know exactly where to go. Then the clamps stayed there. Like a mammogram only instead of being “under pressure” for about 30 seconds this was permanently attached for the duration, I was to discover.
Please forgive me if this is TMI, I am a retired RN and at this point I know just about enough regarding this whole procedure to make me nuts… I am trying to set the stage for the story here. Thanks for humoring me.
The team was really wonderful and supportive. They talked me through and explained everything. I actually got out of their room in 1 hour and 45 minutes, with an ice pack in place and a couple sheets of instructions and having met my “navigator” – a lady who would be calling the next day to check. Our hospital is blessed to have one of the best breast cancer treatment centers in the nation.
They said I’d have the results by the following Tuesday or Wed – back to the refrigerator repairman day. I was supposed to go into my MD for a regularly scheduled appointment but was trying to work things out when they called to confirm. The frig wouldn’t wait. The little gal said Oh, I do hope you will be able to make this appointment because Doc is booked up until the 26th (almost two weeks away). I didn’t think too much about it at the time until later when I still hadn’t gotten biopsy results and was told by the biopsy team that my primary care physician had my biopsy results. More phone calls. Well, yes they had it. My suspicions began to run wild when they told me I needed to come in to the office. The retired RN kicked in knowing the only time someone had to come in for lab results were if they were extremely bad.
My neighbor agreed to come and babysit the frig repairman and I rushed in to the doc’s office to see the PA who actually had an opening in 2 hours.
“Hi Christine, I flunked my biopsy, didn’t I?”
“Well, sorta, but actually it is the very best kind of breast cancer you could have….”
(I wanted to ask her if sorta flunking my biopsy was like being sorta pregnant but I did manage to resist)
“You have ductal carcinoma in situ”
My nursing experience came in handy as I remembered that “in situ” means in the site of – translating that further it means that it is right there – and could be pointed to with a finger. The surrounding cells were “atypical” which means not totally normal but not malignant. We caught it early and it was not invasive. There is still a change it might be in the lymph nodes and they will biopsy those too.
OK, now it was my turn to blanch at TMI. I am a strange RN in that I hate needles and knives especially when I am the patient. I have a story from when I was five and they blindfolded me at the dentist and then the blindfold slipped right when they were 5 inches from my face with a horse syringe attached to a novocaine needle – this is a story I have yet to write but it is indelible on my brain, believe me.
Then I got more information about lumpectomy, radiation, possible mastectomy and “by the way, many women with bigger breasts wish afterwards they had had a bilateral (as in both breasts) mastectomy because of the issues of not being able to find a prosthesis which is the right weight and their remaining breast being too heave and causing nerve muscle damage so that’s something you might like to consider….”
By this time my natural nurse-y self should have been climbing the walls.
They said goodbye to me and said they’d get back to me by the next day with the oncologist appointment.
I need to mention here that I had imagined how I might react to the news that I had cancer. It was not a pretty sight for black and white me, with the nursing background. Yes, I shed a few tears in the doc’s office.
Got to the truck, called my hubby and got voice mail and shed a few more tears. Then a strange thing happened.
I love my Lord Jesus with all my heart having come to him about 37 years ago out of 9 years of playing atheist and with Him pulling me feet first out of a wine bottle. I was turned upside down and backwards by the Creator of the Universe and haven’t regretted my decision to ask for His forgiveness since. He has been there with me through all the events in my life but I have never had a cancer diagnosis before.
I started the truck, and found myself lifting my hands in praise. (I really am not sure who was driving because my hands were up and I was praising my Lord in my spiritual language) As I praised I had the sense that my praises were going up and the Holy Spirit was coming down through my raised hands and arms and when He (the Holy Spirit) got to my chest the picture which came to mind was like liquid golden fire radiating there. I got a big grin on my face and didn’t stop praising God. The arms came down because it was time to shift the 5 speed and go onto the highway to get home.
I prayed and praised and drove. I am not nuts, nor do I take any meds to make me “feel good” or anything except thyroid or blood pressure meds. Nothing to calm me or take away pain so we can’t explain what was happening because of “meds” – I also gave up alcohol, smoking “wacky tobaccy” and any other “recreational drugs” back in 1974 when I was born again.
I was overcome by a peace, knowing that I had placed my hand firmly in the hand of the man who stilled the waters and calmed the sea. Right then he was doing a fantastic job of calming the sea in me. I had been much more fearful and apprehensive while waiting for the diagnosis.
My husband was great and told me he was there for me (he had gone through a cancer episode in 2009 with melanoma and is doing fine).
The next morning I woke up still sensing that incredible peace and with a smile on my face and wrote the following to my pastors:
Pastor Teri and Jim ~
To the world looking into my living room today I would appear to be NUTS.
I was just spontaneously dancing and singing (tongues) and twirling around just TAKEN in super praise – just now I even thanked God for the “cancer” deal He is taking me through. I can’t tell you how many doors have opened already.
Many more people are reading my posted things and coming to my blog and I will have much to write about our Lord in associating with those dreaded words “biopsy, mammogram, cancer, radiation” etc.
Penrose have given me a staff person (navigator) to be there with me at the oncologists office and go through this all with me and with her learned expertise – Mick is coming to oncologist. Many have offered transportation and to get together and pray and I am blown away!
There is prayer support on sites I write for and am getting messages with scriptures and encouragement from all over the globe.
Thanks so much for last night I felt like a piggy with all the prayers but was definitely a piggy wrapped in Holy Spirit wonder.
You are a sister after my own heart – the pastor I always wanted. Haven’t had this blessing (of you or someone like you) since YWAM and my wonderful small group leader there all those years ago. Thank you for being His handmaiden and His arms reached out and hand extended – I told Mick what Reba asked “how can we help Mick in this?” He was touched I could tell.
Wow, wow, wow.
And Donna… amazing what she shared about all of this and what she offered for transportation and etc.
I am packing to go to CS for Every Home for Christ celebration tonight and tomorrow – will then come home and come to Dayspring Sunday.
I have never felt so loved and blessed, in spite of or maybe even because of this diagnosis. I can’t properly articulate this but there is something extraordinary and supernatural taking place here and I am in the midst of it big time (duh – well, you know what I mean) Dreaded words but INCREDIBLE Lord and my response and reaction are blowing me away. Not downcast, but almost floating in His presence and care.
I keep thinking of Job (and don’t feel I am going to die – actually feel that he will heal or prolong the awfulness of cancer AWAY from me and that He is coming back so soon it will not matter) but I keep thinking of “though he slay me, yet will I trust him” and I feel it through my whole being – all this “tent talk” is fine but I am in a different plane and closer than ever before to my Lord Jesus “through it all”. It is a nasty event that is being used in a most blessed way to encourage me and help me get to know my savior even better than ever before!
Rambling thoughts – hope the Holy Spirit gives you a glimpse of what I am trying to say?
So much more has happened this weekend at a conference for Every Home for Christ and their 65 anniversary celebration where I heard Christians from all over the globe telling of God’s miracles in their areas of the world. I got to see many old friends and co-workers and it was beautiful.
My oncologist appointment is Tuesday and I will find out more about the logistics of this then. I have decided to place this diagnosis at the feet of my Jesus, put my hand firmly in His and take one step after the other to walk this through. Do I know the outcome? Nope but I really am at peace and not just spouting this off because I think I should. I never have been into the positive confession stuff – tell the truth in love, period. God doesn’t do something my way because I have “confessed it”.
This is a heads and tails situation in that either way the “coin” comes up I win!
New King James Version (NKJV)
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.
Come visit my blog! http://myincrediblelord.blogspot.com/
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
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Dear Marijo. Thank you for sharing your story. Enough TMI for us to understand what you are 'going through' right now. May God bless You. I have prayed for your healing. x