The doctor has said not to be scared.
“It’s probably NOT cancer, really, only about a ten percent chance. Don’t worry.”
But I was scared.
It started two weeks ago when Bitchy spotted a lump the size of Cleveland on my back. It was kind of below the shoulder blade, in a spot incredibly hard to reach but easy to spot when one wears a nightgown with spaghetti straps.
It was a Friday night. On Monday I called the doctor’s office, and was chatting with the good doctor by 10:00 a.m.
“That is definitely a fatty lipoma. We will schedule a sonogram, and then take it out.”
I smiled, and after a witty exchange, slipped out to the nurse’s desk where she arranged the sonogram for the next morning.
I continued to think nothing of it- and was amused when the sonogram technician didn’t even look old enough to drive. She smiled, her braces shouting out at me as she proceeded to inspect me with her machine. She was quiet during the procedure, and managed to brush of my interrogation techniques with a shake of the head and a wag of her finger. Honestly, it was my grandmother disguised as a pre-pubescent child labor dodger.
I left the office and made my way to the Amish Farmer’s Market across town. My thoughts of fresh peaches, blackberries and watermelon had sufficiently distracted me from the bothersome cyst that was hitchhiking on my back.
I walked in my front door only about 30 minutes after my procedure and my husband was waiting for me in the kitchen.
“Where were you?”
“At the SONOGRAM. Oh, and the Farmer’s Market!” I said, holding up my incredibly scrumptious purchases.
“The doctor’s office called. You have to call them.” He looked at me.
“Okay. Just let me……”
“NOW. You need to call….now.”
And then it registered. The phone call 30 minutes after the sonogram was PROBABLY not a good sign. I sat at the dining room table and called. The nurse got on the line.
“Well. It is NOT a lipoma. It’s a mass of some kind. So….as soon as we get approval from your insurance, we will schedule an MRI.”
My eyes widened, and I could feel them fill with tears. What? WHAT? I asked her to explain again, because surely I had misheard what she said.
Nope. I hadn’t misheard. And it was at that moment a memory came flooding back.
Last summer, while attending the BlogHer conference in Chicago, I had stumbled upon a booth that just HAPPENED to be giving massages. They coincidently had a cancellation, and I could slip in for a quick massage if I liked. I LIKED.
The talented masseuse (It was my FIRST massage, people) stopped at one point on my back and he asked, “What is this little lump in here?”
Yeah. I had forgotten about that.
I called the doctor’s office back, hoping to speak to the doctor. He called a bit later in the afternoon and I told him the story. He, in turn, tried to explain what they were looking at.
“It still COULD be a lipoma, but it just has some odd characteristics. It's deeper than we thought, and bigger, and the edges appear odd. But don’t worry – probably NOT cancer. Only about a ten percent chance it could be.”
So, the MRI was scheduled for the Monday following the conference.
I don’t think you want to hear about me attempting to slide into submarine-like tube, only to be unsuccessful. (And by that I mean crying, perhaps screaming a little, and saying some words that they assured me they've heard before.) They called in a prescription, and arranged for me to have the OPEN MRI that Thursday.
So, one tiny orange pill and one adorable blue sleeping mask later, the MRI was done.
I didn’t get the call until Monday.
I had just opened my email, and was shrieking with JOY when I discovered that the Today show had picked up a piece I had posted at the BlogHer website. The joy in my heart was overwhelming! Honestly, I was over the moon. I emailed my brother, sister, aunts, friends and coworkers to share in my joy.
Then, I went down to the basement to grab something from our office when I noticed the answering machine blinking. I played the message.
“This is the doctor’s office. Please call us right away.”
I sat down. In one moment I soared from the top of the moon down to the scary place where no one likes to go alone.
I thought, for a brief moment, that this is surely how it happens. You have a brief glimpse of pure happiness, and then are thrust into despair. I'd been there before- he's like an old friend I never want to see again.
I dialed the phone, and waited. The nurse came on the line.
“It’s a lymphoma.”
“WHAT?” I asked.
“A LI-poma. A fatty LIPOMA.” She cleared up what she said FIRST (heart attack, people. HEART. ATTACK) and went on the tell me about scheduling with the surgeon so he could remove it- and have it evaluated, but that it was definitely a fatty lipoma.
And never, never has fatty sounded so damn sweet.