In my last column I shared with you that I was walking down the path of determining whether or not I had breast cancer. A routine mammogram led to more images, which led to a biopsy, which led to a lumpectomy.
The whole experience took place over about seven weeks. Seven weeks of the constant question in my mind being “Do I or don’t I?” I contemplated what I would tell my children, I wondered how my family would deal with it. Even with the odds being in my favor that it wasn’t cancer, my mind played out many scenarios.
I’m not someone who likes to spend a lot of time dwelling on a mystery, unless it is one in the pages of a good book. I knew I needed to focus my mental energy in a way that had me moving forward while we went through the process, which would take time.
While I kept busy and passed the days leading up to my lumpectomy, I found peace in knowing that my worst-case scenario still meant early treatment. Additionally I realized that whatever it was, already was. No amount of worrying or “what-ifs” would change anything.
What I needed was to focus on something that didn’t involve abnormal cells, a mass, surgery etc. We had been making plans for months with a Giant Schnauzer breeder in Illinois to have a dog join our household.
Two weeks before my surgery we headed to Chicago to pick up what became the best distraction ever. Odin was 10 weeks old when we brought him home. Between work, my day to day life and Odin, the next two weeks leading up to my surgery flew by!
Between the start of the holidays and watching Odin explore his new community, I was having a wonderful time. He met Santa for the first time at the Excelsior Real Estate Annual Free Kid’s Movie, he went on his first horse drawn carriage ride down Water St. in Excelsior. He even spent and will spend a few days a week with us at our store J. Novachis getting socialized.
When I saw my doctor at a scheduled appointment she said I was the first patient she has had show up to a pre-lumpectomy physical who was smiling and laughing. I shared with her that I knew no amount of worry on my part was going to change anything, good or bad. I also told her about Odin, the joy he was bringing to our lives and how it helped to keep me in the moment, rather than worrying about what may or may not be.
The day of my surgery arrived and I was ready. My surgery went very well. Within two days I got the news I had been waiting for. The surgeon said that though they found more abnormal cells, I had no cancer cells! The mass removed during my lumpectomy shows no cancer. Needless to say I was and am thrilled with this news.
Unfortunately, I came down with a pretty bad case of bronchitis while recovering. There is nothing like sailing through a lumpectomy and then being almost taken out by bronchitis. When I got home from the hospital Odin remained right by my bedside during my recovery, which has taken much longer because of the bronchitis.
I did learn a valuable lesson after my surgery. When you are recovering from the affects of anesthesia or narcotics, it is best to log out of your Amazon account. Otherwise, within a few days odd things start to arrive at your home. Did you know you can get a beanie type face mask for winter that makes you look like an octopus? You can, I now own them in green and gray.
I’ll be following up with my doctors and staying on top of future screenings. I’m in a high risk category, but today I don’t have cancer. That’s good enough for me at the moment.
This experience has reminded me about keeping things in perspective. We can’t always change or control what is, but we can control how we choose to respond to it.
You can follow Natalie Webster and more of her adventures at www.AdventuresWithNatalie.com.