Benign … Rewind

I got a call from my doctor yesterday, and the “suspicious mass” wasn’t so benign as they originally thought. The jury is still out on what I’m really dealing with, but I wanted to let you know that the all-clear was a bit premature.

I need to have yet another surgery, which I’ve put off a few weeks. Rod and I have a vacation coming up that we’ve planned and paid for and I don’t want to miss it. I’ll let you know more when I do.

In the meantime, I would appreciate your continued prayers and good wishes.

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I’m Not Going to Church Tomorrow. I Have Other Plans.

Breast Cancer Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by crazy_dame https://www.flickr.com/photos/craftydame/

Breast Cancer Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by crazy_dame https://www.flickr.com/photos/craftydame/

Bright and early tomorrow morning, my husband and I will head to the hospital for another biopsy. They found another “suspicious mass” during scans Monday. It may turn out to be fine. I’ll know more in a few days. If you could spare a prayer for me on this Holy Thursday, I would be most appreciative.

I wrote about it in more detail for the National Catholic Register:

Please Remember Me in Your Prayers This Friday
Jesus will take care of me, and I know it. I am not alone, because He is there. He is so completely there.

I have another “mass.” My biopsy is scheduled for this Friday — Good Friday.

I’ve asked a number of people to pray, and their first response has been “how can that be?” I had a bilateral mastectomy, and in their minds, that removed all risk of breast cancer.

But cancer doesn’t give guarantees. Or rather, it gives one guarantee, and that is that it will hang over you like the Sword of Damocles all the rest of your days.

None of this means that I am back in the cancer soup again. I may learn next week that this thing is something other than cancer. That is a real possibility.

But even if it turns out to be a benign something-or-other, I still get to have more fun and frolic with doctors. I still have to consider the what-ifs of this disease all over again. If the cancer has gone off and made an appearance somewhere else, then those “what-ifs” are both simple and existential to the max.

Once again, if I am afraid, I do not feel it. And, once again, I’m using this situation to spring people from Purgatory. I believe that my illness earned a way out for quite a few good souls last year. That’s a good feeling.

I got this good news Monday. I almost cried when I was lying on the table while being scanned and saw the look on the face of the person doing the scanning. There were tears, wanting to leak out.

But I didn’t. I sniffled a bit later that evening, while I was working in the kitchen, but that’s been it with the crying. I’m not being stoic. If I needed to cry, I would. I just haven’t.

The first couple of days, I was blue and angry. I mean really, I-want-to-be-left-alone blue-and-cursing angry.

I had actually begun to think I might be on the road to years of cancer-free time. It took me a while to get there, but I had started thinking I could exhale and just live for a while.

That’s why I was so angry. I lost that little bit of lightness Monday and I was angry about having it snatched away. (Read the rest here.)

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I Want You to Stop and Think for a Moment About How Much God Loves You

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by BuzzFarmers https://www.flickr.com/photos/buzzfarmers/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by BuzzFarmers https://www.flickr.com/photos/buzzfarmers/

Note: I’m re-publishing this because it didn’t come through in its entirely the first time I put it up. I hope it makes more sense this time around.

I wrote this a few months ago for the National Catholic Register. I think it’s worth publishing again at this time when we have been so deeply damaged and degraded as a nation and a people by the amoral cruelty of the election just past, and when our Church, which should be the lodestone that guides our lives, is at odds with itself.

I was in a special place of grace when I wrote this. Cancer was, for me, a powerful experience of the love of Christ. The graces He rained down on me during that time could only have come from a God Who truly is love.

Here’s what I wrote:

I’ve spent the past seven months in the hermetically-sealed world of cancer treatment. That world disconnected me from the other world of normal life with the abrupt finality of amputation.

One minute, I thought I was fine. The next, I was fighting for my life. The re-entry into what I just labeled “normal” life was as abrupt as the leave-taking. I arrived, not well, not even close to well, but wounded and battered from treatments that had just ended. The sights, sounds, behaviors that confronted me in this “normal” world seemed alien and more than a bit trivial.

I suppose it was a bit like a soldier returning from an overseas war. They get on the plane with sand in their teeth and the rattle of gunfire still sounding in their ears and get off a few hours later in the impersonal noise and confusion of an American airport. Technically they are home, but “home” feels more alien than the alien world from which they have come.

They are stunned. As I was stunned.

The single biggest change is not that I am changed physically, although I am changed physically in obvious ways. It’s the shift in values, in my understanding of what matters, that sets me apart from everyone around me.

Take, for instance, Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of Love. I think I heard something about it when I was in that other world, but I don’t really remember what. Between the drugs and the overwhelming sickness, nothing stuck except a clear memory of how wretched I felt. That, and not much else, is imprinted on my mind, in much the same way that I would keep seeing a blinding flash, even after it’s over.

I was aware, in that same vague way that I knew about the Exhortation, that there was the usual carrying on from the usual places that seems to accompany everything the Holy Father says or does. But somewhere between the words “you have cancer” and the release of the Exhortation, my relationship with my Church had changed.

That’s only reasonable, since my relationship with God had also changed during that time. I’ve never felt closer to Jesus than I did during those months of treatment. He was, to paraphrase W H Auden, my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest.

I was both too sick to care about the reaction to Pope Francis’ Exhortation and too deep in the love of God to take it seriously. Now that I am slowly getting better, tip toeing ever-so-cautiously around the rim of normal life without actually diving in, I retain the profound crystallizing viewpoint that is, to paraphrase another poet, all I know of heaven, all I need of hell.

I’ve been someplace quite rare in this life. I’ve been to hell while wrapped in the loving arms of God my Father.

I want to tell you what I learned on the trip. I learned that all we know of heaven lies in the peace of Christ Jesus. There really is a peace that passes all understanding, a love that does not die, that grows stronger when we are weak. The secret to life in Christ is no secret at all. It is not built on being sinless, pious and perfect. It is certainly not built on having the right political ideas and voting correctly. You do not get to God by hating the right people for the right reasons. Rely on yourself and your own righteousness, and you will never see heaven at all.

The only way to heaven is through the Way, which is Jesus and His love. All you have to do is trust Him. That’s all. Just throw yourself into His arms and let go of everything else.

We are so grounded in this life that we lose sight of that. It’s very difficult for earth-bound creatures like us to fly. I was blessed to encounter the terror of cancer. Cancer pushed me right up to the cliff of abandoning myself utterly into God’s hands, and in the faith that came from decades of walking in Him, I closed my eyes and stepped off.

The rest is a song of floating in His love through the white water that lay ahead of me.

During that passage, as a result of that step off the cliff, I changed. The Church became, not a set of teachings and dogma, but the living Eucharist, the Body of Christ in fact and in truth.

I encountered Jesus every day, and He blessed me over and over again, while the Church fed me with the concrete love of Christ in Eucharist. I could reach out and touch Him, taste Him, receive Him physically, while He surrounded me with His loving presence spiritually.

God’s beautiful people reached out to me with letters, emails, offers of help and assistance from every direction. They, too, became the living Body of Christ and I found deep healing in their caring.

When I heard about the Exhortation, I didn’t really care what it said. Pope Francis is Peter. Me? I’m just a back-pew sitter who has no real right to be part of this beautiful Body of Christ. I am not here by virtue of my virtue. Far from it. I am only here because God loved me from eternal death to eternal life through His forgiveness and Mercy.

I am writing this post for one reason. I want you to stop and think for a moment about how much God loves you. Stop what you a doing and just think about what He has forgiven you, and how much you rely on His love and forgiveness. Without that love, without that bounteous mercy, you and I would both go straight to hell.

That, my friends would not be a harsh judgement. It would be justice in its absolute and accurate sense. We do not deserve heaven. We deserve to go to hell.

If those people who hated me back when I was doing my worst had had their way about it, God would certainly have never forgiven me. It is a verifiable fact that some of them were outraged and bitter when I converted, that they called everyone from my bishop to other members of my parish to protest and say that I should be shunned and kicked out.

But that great Body of Christ which is the Catholic Church welcomed me home and accepted me as its own daughter.

If Pope Francis is telling us that God’s Mercy extends to everyone without regard to what they have done, he is only telling us the truth. He is not changing doctrine. He is preaching Christ.

I know only too well the kind of willful sinfulness leaning on my own wisdom can lead me to commit. I pray every day that God will protect me from my own understanding, that He will not let me walk past Lazarus.

If you are one of those who is outraged by what our Holy Father has written, stop for a moment and think. When you stand on the edge of that cliff and look out over the expanse of nothingness that is your own suffering and death, the Church will be there to sustain you.

When you step off that cliff, the arms of Christ will catch you.

None of this will happen because you deserve it. It will happen because love is stronger than death, and our God is a deeply personal and infinitely loving God of mercy.

Do not begrudge other people the same forgiveness that saves you. Do not, ever, tell anyone that God does not love them. The first is not only a cruelty, but a denial of your own salvation, as if you are throwing God’s gifts to you back in His face. The second is a lie, plane and simple.

I think that when we get to heaven one of the biggest surprises we’ll have is who we see there. And who we don’t.

Trust the Church and trust Jesus. Don’t wait until one of life’s existential trials forces you to it, trust Jesus now. And stop worrying.

Whether it seems like it or not, God’s got this. If you are His, you have nothing, absolutely nothing, to fear.

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Counting My Many Blessings in the Year of Cancer.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cindi Albright https://www.flickr.com/photos/rustiqueart/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cindi Albright https://www.flickr.com/photos/rustiqueart/

 

Today is Thanksgiving Eve. It’s time to count our blessings and pause in gratitude.

I look back over the past year on this Thanksgiving eve and I am grateful that I was born an American. I am grateful that God placed me in the adoring hands of two parents who never placed limits on me because I was female, who didn’t try to form me into a half-person who knew her “place” at the back of the bus.

I am grateful for my grandmother who was a Pentecostal Holiness preacher. She was a “church planter” who started and succored into success churches throughout a multi-state area and who had a huge following for her weekly radio sermons. She gave me a vision of God as Father to all His children, including the female half of the people He made.

I am grateful for my other grandmother whose grandparents lived in the South and fought on the side of the North in the Civil War because they saw slavery as a sin against God. I am grateful that she lived long enough to tell me stories of pioneering across this great land, of following the frontier as it receded before the courage of people like her.

I am grateful for my wonderful husband whose loyalty I never doubt, and whose forbearance I often sorely test. When I walked in the house and told him I had cancer, he cried. Then, he went with me to every doctor’s appointment and every treatment. He took time off work to take care of me when I was too sick to care for myself. He loved me. He loves me. He is my spouse, my life’s mate.

I am grateful for my fine sons. I am grateful for the good men they have become. I am grateful for the loving, good-to-the-core young women, my two new daughters, they have chosen for their own life’s mates. My children are good people. My most important life’s work is a success.

I am grateful for my sweet, precious, 91-year-old baby, my mother. I love her and treasure her and am grateful I still have her every single day.

I am grateful for my beautiful, wonderful baby granddaughter. I can’t think of her without melting, can’t write about her without smiling. Just holding her in my arms is everything good in life in one sweet baby hug. She is, as I tell her often, the smartest, the prettiest, the nicest, the sweetest and just the best baby girl in the whole history of baby girls.

This has been a rotten year for me, at least in most respects. There are parts of it I don’t feel like writing about just now, but that were tough. I have already written about the other things. This was the year in which I discovered I am unlikely to live as long as I had thought I might, when I found out I had cancer, when I went through the difficult passage of cancer treatment.

Cancer changed me. It wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened to me, and it hasn’t been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it changed me.

Cancer gave me the opportunity to mentally unpack my life and look at what parts of it I want to keep and what parts of it I want to toss. It let me understand the limits of my lifespan, and this understanding sharpened my resolve about the things that matter to me.

Cancer gave me a kind of freedom. We all know that we are marked “Return to Sender,” but for most of our lives, we tend to forget that. Cancer brought that fact into sharper focus for me. And, in that focus, is freedom.

This is an odd thing for someone who held elective office for decades, but I never was much of a people-pleaser. I haven’t lived my life by trying to trim myself, my beliefs or my actions to fit what other people wanted me to do, believe or say.

I have my parents to thank for that internal freedom. They gave it to me by telling me, from the dawn of my life that I was made for myself and not other people. My parents did not fence me in with narrow ideas about myself. They did not allow me to drink down the cultural limitations that other people sought to impose on female children.

They weren’t feminists, didn’t even know the word. They were parents who were children of other parents who had rejected these notions somewhere along the long march through the abolitionist movement, the frontier and the turn to a powerful personal faith in a God Who did not Himself impose these limits.

My childhood, and a couple of life-changing things that happened to me at the end of it, shaped me to be a go-my-own-way, do-what-I-think-is-right kind of person. That acute freedom led me into some very public mistakes, which I very publicly regretted later on. But it also led me into an incredible life in which I had the opportunity to do things that mattered, that saved lives and changed lives for the better.

As I sit here on this Thanksgiving eve, writing this post, I am grateful. I am grateful for this wonderful country, which I love with my whole heart. I am grateful for my family, and for the friends who have stuck with me through it all.

But most of all, I am grateful to my Maker for loving me, and for forgiving me my sins, for giving me my children, my husband, my parents, my sweet baby granddaughter. I am grateful to Him for my life.

I am grateful to Him for His love. For seeing me through all of it, for walking beside me in the valley of the shadow. I am grateful to Him for Calvary, for eternal life, for lifting me out of the mire of mortality and giving me the gift of endless tomorrows.

Cancer is, in ways I never considered before I learned I had it, a liberating thing. It liberates you from the tyranny of tomorrow and places you squarely into today. And for that, I am grateful.

Cancer may take away years of the time I thought I had to live. But it has given me today.

I give thanks on this Thanksgiving eve for the myriad blessings of my life.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, along with all my many blessings, the opportunity to write and communicate with you dear people who have formed this good community here on Public Catholic. I write other places, for some good-sized publications. But nowhere else do I know my readers by name and personality.

I am grateful for each of you. Thank you for your prayers and your support during this hard year just past. You are the best.

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Cancer has Taught Me the Cure: We Have to Follow Christ.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/

I wrote this last week for the National Catholic Register.

 

I’ve been trying to find my way back into writing for quite a while. It isn’t easy.

Every time I think I’m moving forward, I fall down. I get sick again; not cancer sick, but too sick to do anything. I get colds, kidney infections, gastrointestinal thingies, then I get another cold, and so on and so forth.

Each little illness — and these things come at me like they were being fired from a repeating rifle — takes the little bit of pizazz that I’ve mustered and smashes it flat. I have to rebuild my stamina, and yes, my interest in the world outside the confines of my personal life, all over again. Then, just as I’m peeking over the rim, I get hit with another illness.

These things take me down in a way that colds and such have not in times past. I don’t remember ever missing a day’s work over a cold or a kidney infection. No matter what happened, my verve for doing kept right on keeping on. It has fueled me all my life. But cancer extinguished that verve in a deep, deep way. My focus switched to an all-out fight for my life.

In addition to wearing me down, cancer shifted the things I care about. What mattered to me, in fact all that mattered, was Jesus, my family and a few friends. Whatever verve I had left went to cuddling my granddaughter and taking my Mama out for drives.

There was a time — quite a long time — when I could do neither. In fact, there was a period of at least a couple of weeks where my memory was so drug-laden that it’s just a spotty series of scenes that I sort of remember.

I had one tough instance of runaway high blood pressure. I had daily visits from nurses for a few weeks. They were wonderful and probably saved my life when the blood pressure went wacko. The nurse caught it and went to bats with the docs that they had to do something about it. I don’t remember a lot of things, but I do remember her telling a doc “You have to act. I will not leave this patient in this condition. I don’t want a mastectomy to stroke out on me.”

The odd part of that memory is that a friend of mine was Rebecca-sitting during this whole event. She came to my house each morning as my husband was leaving for work and stayed with me all day. I remember we watched movies and that she helped me strip drains and such.

Later, when I was trying to remember the big mess with the blood pressure, I asked her, “Were you there when that happened?” She smiled and said, “Yes, I was.”

Another time, I was telling her about how heavy my Kirby vacuum cleaner is and bragging that I had been able, for the first time in a long time, to vacuum my living room floor. She smiled and said, “I used that vacuum to clean your house when I was taking care of you.” I have no memory of that.

There’s a lot I don’t remember, and a lot I do (Read the rest here.)

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There are Two Ways to Survive Cancer

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aaaarrrggghhh! https://www.flickr.com/photos/uselessid/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aaaarrrggghhh! https://www.flickr.com/photos/uselessid/

I’m back. Sort of.

As I explain in this post I wrote for the National Catholic Register, I feel like a shipwreck victim who has washed up on a strange shore. I’ve been so completely immersed in that nether world of cancer treatment and fighting for my life that this normal world seems odd to me.

The values of this world are backwards to me now, more so than they already were backward to me as a practicing Christian. The physical part of cancer is all bad. Every single bit of it. It has left me dealing with a set of deficits and diminishments that will last as long as I do.

But thanks to the love of God, the spiritual side of cancer has been a remarkable gift. The Holy Spirit walked with me throughout, and I have come closer to Him than I thought possible in this life.

Here is a bit of what I wrote for the Register.

I told a friend that I feel as if I’ve been away. I feel like someone who has wintered over at the South Pole and is now peeking from behind doors at the newcomers who’ve arrived with the sun.

In truth, I have been to a different continent, but it is a continent of the mind and spirit, of enclosure and obsessive focus. The topography has nothing to do with the unexplored mountain ranges and rivers that I associate with the idea of a new continent. The unexplored areas of this new land were hospital rooms and surgical suites, doctor’s offices and pathology results.

I been fighting for my life, just as surely as any gladiator in an arena, any soldier in battle. I have been, like they are, on strange soil, someone else’s territory, guarding my back as well as my front as I sought purchase on the shaky ground under my feet, as I fought to find the way out of the nightmare.

Cancer is a fight to the death with killer cells that are, in fact, part of ourselves. Nothing will kill cancer that will not also kill us. Because cancer is us. It is our own cells from our own body, gone rogue. Something happened. Either our defenses weakened, or the cell was overwhelmed with a toxicity that almost, but didn’t quite, kill it, and it changed. The change turned it into a terrifying chimera of its old self, a frightening example of what happens to life when the breaks are taken off and one cell — one solitary cell — can multiply and migrate without limit.

Cancer is the ultimate predator. It is the ultimate parasite, taking up ever larger portions of the nutrients and space our bodies need to keep us alive. Cancer is also the ultimate suicidal maniac, that always ends up killing its host, which is to say, itself. Cancer is suicide by greed at the cellular level.

I suppose that makes it a rather elegant metaphor for the politics of greed which threaten to destroy our great nation. But that is a topic for another post.

Today I want to discuss the stunned, waking-up-from-sleep aftermath of cancer treatment.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/there-are-two-ways-to-survive-cancer/#ixzz477qJrqqU

 

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Cancer and Dementia are Risky Ailments in a Time of Euthanasia.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wes Peck https://www.flickr.com/photos/wespeck/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wes Peck https://www.flickr.com/photos/wespeck/

I stopped off at Catholic Vote this morning to write a post adding to another post by my friend Kate O’Hare. Kate took on the questions circling cancer and euthanasia.

Cancer is one of those dread diseases that euthanasia salesmen use to convince people that the compassionate thing to do for people is to kill them. Then, they buttress this cold-blooded thought salad of an argument with claims that people are begging for the opportunity to be killed.

Uh-huh.

These arguments are based on ignorance and myth. It isn’t necessary for anyone in the Western world to die shivering and shrieking in pain. We can manage pain just fine. What is necessary is caring and love. True compassion walks the last mile with the dying and sees them home in love.

That takes work, and it can cost money. So, some folks have hatched up this death with dignity story to justify putting other people down like they were animals. But real death with dignity is to die in peace with the people you love who have walked the hard road to departure alongside you.

Here’s part of what I said about all this:

My friend Kate O’Hare recently wrote a post here at Catholic Vote discussing the question of cancer and euthanasia.

I am living with breast cancer right now, as I type. This evil movement to legalize medical murder is more pertinent to me now than ever before.

Euthanasia pushers tout medical murder as an act of “mercy,” when it is in fact the ultimate act of uncaring. I have cancer. I also am caring for my 90-year-old mother who has dementia.

I googled “undergoing cancer treatment while caring for elderly parent with dementia.” I did not get one hit. This particular combination of responsibilities doesn’t fit in “Ten Things to Do When You Have Cancer” blog posts. The only neat solutions to problems like these are evil solutions. Caregiving and dread disease are messy and complicated. They ask of a lot of us.

My situation seems ready-made for the purveyors of death and their murderous solutions for the burdens of life and love. My mother, in their bleak understanding of life, has “lived too long.” As for me, I’m good for a few rounds of treatment. But if that fails, I need to green light somebody to knock me stone dead and put the world out of my misery

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There’s a Man in My Front Yard with a Gun

Christmas at my house. Copyright Rebecca Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Christmas at my house. Copyright Rebecca Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

I want to thank each of you who has written to me with your kind words and excellent advice. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers. Please continue praying. I need it.

Have a blessed and Holy Christmas this year. Remember always that you are God’s precious child.

I wrote a post about cancer and Christmas and my house for the National Catholic Register. I was thinking of each of you when I wrote it.

Here’s part of what I said:

The House district that I represented for 18 years is more than a bit incomprehensible to outsiders. And by outsiders, I mean anyone and everyone who didn’t spawn in that pond of which both I and the people I represented are from.

I remember trying to explain to another legislator why my constituents reacted to issues as they did. His constituents were constantly in a kerfuffle over whatever hot-button issue du jour was rocking the world at the time. My constituents were steady on about these things. They just trusted my judgment and let me have at it in those areas.

But there were things that they would not abide. Fortunately for me, my constituents and I were one in all this. We thought and, more importantly, felt, alike because we were woven of the same threads.

My colleague didn’t “get” this. It was opaque to him and I wasn’t sure how to explain it so that he could understand.

I thought about the forces that shaped behavior where I was from: the poverty, threat of violence, and powerful sense of community, the us-against-them attitude that kept us together and rolling. How could I explain this to my colleague for whom these things, this way of thinking and being, was alien? Finally, I hit on a metaphor.

When there’s a man in the front yard with a gun, it focuses your attention. I said.

I don’t know if I communicated adequately with my colleague, but for me it was the perfect and absolute explanation. Life has priorities and some of those priorities require all your attention. More than that, they shape your way of reacting to every other priority, and they re-order you personal hierarchy of needs, boiling away the fat and leaving you with the hard bone of whatever reality sustains you.

I am dealing with such a priority right now.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/thanks-to-my-cancer-this-may-be-one-of-our-best-christmases-ever/#ixzz3vBWPIpQe

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Cancer or Not, I Know Whom I have Believed and I Trust Him.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/

This is another article I wrote for the Register. This one is about my surgery for breast cancer. I am having surgery today, beginning at 8 CST. It will run until about noon. I would appreciate your prayers, my friends. Rebecca

(Credit: Andrey Mironov, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

I don’t believe that anyone ever asked me what I would do if I got a bad breast biopsy result. But if they had, I’m pretty sure that feeding a sudden craving for classic rock music would not have been among my answers.

Silly me. I just didn’t know.

Monday was a hard day. My husband and I drove to Dallas and I had a biopsy on my breast. Then, we drove home. For those of you who are wondering, driving 200 miles in a Honda Fit after having had your breast rotter rooted is not a fun time.

The surgeon told me at the get-go that he thought “it” was benign. Then, he turned me over to the radiologist for a little look-see. I went into that encounter hoping that they would be able to determine that everything was good with scans. No such luck. After doing a set of mammograms, with a more hyped-up machine than the one here in OKC, the doc turned serious.

It’s funny, in a non-humorous way, how they keep doing that. They walk in all sunshine and light, then get a good scan and switch to all business. The results came in yesterday, and are a bit too technical for this post. Long story short, I’m still out there, wondering exactly how bad “it” really is; only the questions of it being harmless and of no matter have been settled. It’s not harmless, and it is not of no matter.

Next week I go under the knife. Bizarre as this sounds, I can hardly wait. I want this over with, and I want to know exactly where I stand and what I’m in for.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/i-have-breast-cancer.-whatever-comes-next-i-know-that-i-am-his/#ixzz3tvGkmgAr

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It Began with a Routine Mammogram

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Roswell Park https://www.flickr.com/photos/roswellpark/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Roswell Park https://www.flickr.com/photos/roswellpark/

Several Public Catholic readers remarked on the fact that I went silent last week. Truth was, I just got overwhelmed and needed a time out. I promised you I’d write an explanation. A post I wrote for the National Catholic Register, covers a lot of what is happening with me.

Here’s part of what I said:

It started as a routine mammogram.

I re-scheduled it several times for various trivial reasons, not the least of which is that I don’t like going to the doctor. I never did like going to doctors all that much, but since I spend a huge portion of my life dealing with my 90-year-old mother’s medical care, I like it even less.

I guess it would be safe to say that I’ve got medical care exhaustion. In fact, I’ve got care exhaustion. In fact, I’m just plain tired.

So I put the mammogram off. I scheduled and re-scheduled and dithered and delayed. I thought it was a bother and a waste of time and that there was no real reason for it since it would be negative on all counts.

I was bored and bothered throughout the whole uncomfortable deal when I finally made it in for the mammogram. I left the place happy that it was over and I wouldn’t have to do it again. The lady who took the x-rays emphasized that I needed to come in every year. But I had no intention of going through that again next year. A few years would do. Who knew when I’d be back.

It turns out that I was back in a week. I almost didn’t take the call. It was a number I didn’t recognize, and I was, as usual, busy, busy. Butt after thinking about ignoring it, I picked up the phone and clicked. Long story short, there was a problem. A couple of days later, I was back.

It wasn’t a quick exam, and it was, in fact, oddly impersonal. The doc and the tech kept going over the spot with the ultrasound, bearing down hard, and talking to one another. I wasn’t involved. I was sore for days afterwards from all the poking.

I should have known something was up, just by their intensity, by the 45 minutes (I looked at my watch) that they spent staring at the screen and talking about my body. But I continued down la-la road.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/thoughts-from-the-foot-of-the-cross/#ixzz3rxL0yYE9

 

 

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