So - I kept most of this on the down-low. But now I'm ready to process something that happened recently.
End of October, 2008: Had a large lump in my right breast. I was (and am) still nursing Lily, so I thought that a lump could be a clogged milk duct. I read some home remedies for working it out. Tried them for a couple of weeks. Didn't work. On a Tuesday morning, I went to see some lactation consultants at the hospital. Three of them felt me up and agreed that there was no way it was a clogged duct. They encouraged me to get it "checked out" right away. So - the next morning, I called my OB. She rearranged her morning schedule to see me. Back then, miss Lily was just around 4 mos. old. Adam left work and met us at the doctor's office. We both thought we'd be in and out for a quick exam.
My doctor palpated for a while and then stood up, walked out of the exam room and called a breast surgeon. He agreed to see me that afternoon - though he wasn't planning to see patients that day. So, Adam, Lily & I waited around for a while in his office. The surgeon did a couple of ultrasounds, then inserted a big, tubular needle to aspirate surrounding fluids, and see if he could drain what he thought could be a cyst. After the first needle, he deduced that it was a "mass", not a cyst. He decided to insert another (large, long) needle and use the ultrasound machine to watch as he poked around inside my right babyfeeder. It was uncomfortable - but also pretty neat to see it all on the screen in real time.
The doctor sent the cells away to a lab for testing, sent the surrounding fluid to the lab for cultures, and sent me, Adam and Lily home for the night. He had also set me up with another doctor friend of his, so that we could get a firm second opinion.
We wouldn't know much until the next week.
Early November, 2008: Lab cultures showed no evidence of infection. Adam, Lily and I went to a Radiologist for another opinion and I also had a routine mammogram (my first one ever). It would have all been quite easy - but I was lactating. So, I had to carry the big, bulky breast pump along on these appointments and pump, to empty my breast, before each procedure, for the most accurate results. It was a hassle. And Adam had to take off work to help me with Lily for every visit. The Radiologist wanted more tests and said she couldn't rule out cancer and that there was no way it was a cyst, a clogged duct - or anything that would just go away, over time. She sent me back to the surgeon.
Mid November, 2008: Back to the breast surgeon. This time - he used the ultrasound, then called in another (male) doctor for a third opinion. It was the head of his practice. An older man - who was a little rough with me. He looked down at me and said "you know, I'd like to knock you out for five minutes and squeeze that thing just as hard as I can." He was a little taken aback when I told him to forget the anesthesia and just do it. And - he did. But it was worth it to get another, very educated opinion. His was the same though. "Let's cut into that thing!"
Late November, 2008: Went in for the biopsy. Adam and Lily waited. The nurse and doctor came in, ready for the cut. I had declined anesthesia. The doctor felt the lump first and then he hesitated. He said - "does this feel smaller to you?" I shrugged - I really hadn't been feeling it much. (Due to the poking, squeezing and handling of the lump, my right breast was sore - and it was hard enough to feed my sweet baby with it). The doctor decided to use the ultrasound machine again. When he had enough pictures, he told me to get dressed and meet him in his office. The nurse told Adam and Lily to come too.
We went into the office and the doctor was all smiles. He had four pictures up on the lightscreen. They had been taken on four different dates. All of the previous pic's had been identical - but on this visit - the lump was HALF the size. The doctor told us to go home. He said "cancer does not get smaller". He scheduled a follow-up visit for several weeks later.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009: Lily and I went to see the surgeon this week. He wanted a full ultrasound to see all angles of the mass again. He felt around on the right breast and couldn't locate it. He used the ultrasound machine and found absolutely nothing. He checked the other breast (in case he had picked the wrong one, I guess). Still nothing.
The nurse looked. We all looked at the screen to see something - even just a little spot to confirm that something had been there. Nothing.
I asked the doctor if he had an explanation (because I needed to report something back to my husband that evening). The doctor had no explanation at all. He said he doesn't know what happened to the mass. He said that it was not common and that these types of lumps didn't normally just disappear. He also said that he wants me to come back to his office in six months for another check. (I think doctors always say "come back in six months" when they don't have any idea what to say). He was glad that I was well - but he seemed uneasy because he had no answers for me.
I think it was a small miracle.
I'm not the kind of person that would jump to the conclusion of "miracle" without cause. And I don't think that God has nothing better to do than keep track of my breast health. However, I have no other viable explanation. And the doctor hasn't either.
I have seen God do much bigger things than dissolve a mass in my breast. So I'm going to give Him full credit for this one.
(God, If you are reading this entry - Thanks :)