Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013: a year to embrace life

Happy new year! I have good feelings about 2013. This is hokey, I know, but I feel like odd years are often better for me than even ones. Many happy things have happened in odd years: I met my husband in 2005, W was born in 2009, E was born in 2011, I started college (happy years, for the most part) in 1987 and graduated in 1991. I finished grad school in 2001. I was even born in an odd year (1969). I suppose I could just as easily trace some happy events in those even years--this year had many high points!--but I'm sticking with my theory. Go 2013!

This optimism leads me to my next item, unfortunately, and it's something I'm writing about because I have to get it out of my head, I can't really talk about it in real life, and it's on my mind every minute of every day.

About two weeks ago, I found two little pellet-like lumps on my chest near my underarm. Not exactly on breast tissue, but you know--lumps near a breast that aren't nipples are scary business. I went to the doctor on Monday (yes, on New Year's Eve, mostly because I was starting to lose sleep) and she was optimistic that it was nothing. She said it seemed dermatological and told me to put a prescription hydro.cortisone cream on twice a day. Told me to come back in two weeks if they're still there.

They don't hurt, they're not fluid-filled, and they're not causing an orange-peel like appearance on my skin. All of this is probably good. The doctor is great--she really got me. I was describing how nervous I was and how I had blood work several weeks earlier for a GI visit that showed a few markers for inflammation (very minor elevations in sediment rate and something else...can't remember what...but they both were barely out of range) and she said, "Oh, you're worried about inflammatory breast cancer?" I said, "absolutely--that's all I can think about." She said, "Stop worrying. It doesn't look like that to me at all." I sort of wish she had sent me for an ultrasound or a biopsy, but she said she was so unconcerned about these little lumps that such things seemed like overkill. If I come back in two weeks, we'll talk about ultrasound. She did a full breast exam while I was there, too, and said everything else feels okay.

I'm scheduled for a mammogram in February and she also said there was no need to move it up. I finished breastfeeding in August, remember, and she thinks 6 months after bfing is the earliest they'll see me anyway, so not to worry. Her theory is that the area has gotten irritated and a little infection has arisen, but that it will go away. She also reminded me that after pregnancy and bfing, the body takes a while to go back to "normal," so changes like these aren't out of the ordinary.

It sucks that my mind immediately went to cancer. I admit that I say a prayer every night that go something like this: I pray that W and E are safe, sound, happy, and live long lives, like into their 90s at least. I also pray that they far outlive me and that I, too, have a long life, going somewhere into my 90s as well. I know this prayer means nothing. I know that G*d or whomever I'm praying to isn't looking out for little old me. To believe that G*d cares about me and my day to day life would mean that this same G*d allows other people to suffer, even though they send up similar prayers, and I just can't stomach that idea. So I send this prayer up knowing that it serves mostly to make me feel better. I know that I can't control when I die or how safe my children are.

We all know that, now more than ever.

I'm sorry to be so serious. I'd like to be writing a fun new years resolution-filled post about how I'm going to spend 2013 having fun and getting in shape and being more organized around the house. Instead, here's what I resolve: I resolve to enjoy 2013, whatever it brings. I resolve to embrace it fully, with no reservations. I resolve to really live. To pay attention to the world around me and to really be here. Full-hearted and real. I resolve to jump in.


  1. Wow, what a terrifying ordeal! I'm so sorry you had to go through that but I'm glad your doctor is so certain it's nothing to be worried about. Please keep us posted.

    I hope 2013 is as great a year as you think it might be.

  2. Oh wow, how scary. I am so glad your doctor is not concerned, and hope it continues that way. I love your plan for the year, especially "full-hearted and real".
    BTW, I used to be more an "even years" kind of girl---born on an even year, graduated everything on an even year. But I was married on an odd year, and both kids were born in odd years (same as yours, iirc).
    Happy New Year to you.