Cliff hanger...hanging from a cliff...that's why they call him CLIFF HANGER!
I'm upping my usual $0.25 reward to $0.50 if you can name where that line comes from. And if you don't have cable and have kids under the age of 5, you are in striking position.
I wanted to wait until after Eric had a recent dermatology appointment before posting about my 1 week postpartum PTSD and boob crisis.
I know; what the milk duct am I talking about? Eric/dermatology/PTSD/boobs...
Here me out. I'm not cray-cray. Just cray. Singular.
Ever since Eric's cancer stint, albeit short in duration (and we are 3 years into being cancer free), I think I have a little PTSD and pretty much think everything is cancer.
Miles's swollen lymph nodes behind his ears (that he has had since birth)? Cancer.
Eric's vericocele from a few years back? Cancer.
Felix's crazy eye trick where he shakes his eyes on command? Result of cancer.
I'm just being honest. And it's probably something I should address professionally, and I have actually thought about it. But I'm afraid my paranoia is a result of cancer...or a teratoma. Actually, that's probably a result of the fact I just read Brain on Fire and think I have the protagonist's crazy disease.
>>Tee-o's. READ THE BOOK! It's amaze-balls. And how did I get through 2 other maternity leaves without a smartphone?--holy Kindle. I've already read 3 books, and my favorite has been Brain on Fire. I highly recommend it for those who like medical dramas. And it's nonfiction. Obvi. It's me we are talking about.
So. Let's start with Eric and his dermatology sitch. He has had this "patch" on his chest for the past few weeks. Anytime he has some aberrant bodily abnormality, I fuh-reak out. His cancer diagnosis was right after I had Felix, so following, right after I had August, I felt a sense of dread in thinking about his patch of unknown origin. Especially because tuff actin' tinactin wasn't helping. (Ie, r/o ringworm...it must be CANCER!)
So he went to the dermatologist this week, and they determined it is contact dermatitis of unknown origin. Phew! Except...the whole unknown origin thing kinda freaks me out. I mean, I like to know the origin of this stuff so I can avoid it. Right?
Speaking of unknown origin, back to Déjà Boob.
You following? Yeah, didn't think so. But I'm operating off of 2 hours of sleep and a grande Starbucks Misto. (Ie, poor woman's latte. Trust me. It's cheaper and tastes the same. I've got 3 boy mouths to feed. Mama is gonna be poor.)
So, chronology: we win the gold medal in the vagina luge with Gus. We are on cloud nine, go home, and as a breastfeeding mom is wont to do, tap that shiznat. Which for me, includes a lot of manhandling the spigots. (TMI?). And although I still haven't pumped or used bottles, have had to hand express some due to fast letdown and initial engorgement that first week.
Well, as I became acquainted with my old friends, I noticed a very hard lump/nodule/bump on one side. My mom and Eric confirmed it was there, too. You know how sleep deprivation can get you seeing/hearing/feeling things that aren't there. I call it postpartum phantom syndrome. It's in the DSM-V (or should be.)
Also, I know what ducts feel like. And this was no clogged duct. It felt like a bullet lodged in my boob. I have a history of dense tissue and back in 2003, even had a fibroid removed. But this didn't feel like a fibroid or even a cyst to me.
So, my mind went "there" and I scheduled an appt to get bullet boob checked out. My mind and hormones got the best of me for 48 agonizing hours. I didn't eat for about 2 days (I attribute that to the first 5lbs I lost), and went to my appointment...hoping the NP would be all "totally nothing!"
Well, she not only identified my boob bullet, but then also identified about 6 others between my two boobs. (She also asked me if I had a boob job, which Eric and I laughed about. It's just a testament to those of us with dense breast tissue. Apparently it feels like an implant--if only it looked like it.)
And then she scheduled me for an ultrasound ASAP.
I LOST IT IN THE OFFICE. Oh, I was in that office every week for months getting violated with an internal ultrasound, dealing with preterm labor, shots, anxiety...and I didn't shed a tear. But now I was boo-hooing so hard, I couldn't walk out of the office. I started shaking and even contemplated getting a prescription for Xanax for the night. For real. All I could picture was leaving Eric alone with 3 wild boys...and a healthy life insurance policy. (Okay, total lie I have no idea what my life insurance policy is. #ignoranceisbliss)
So fast forward first thing the next day, I'm hanging out with my newborn, husband, and middle aged women at the breast radiology center. Eric and August kindly took an early morning nap in the waiting room while I pumped all the milk out of my boobs behind a dressing curtain and waited for a scan.
Shit. Wasn't I just getting a more fun ultrasound like 2 weeks ago looking at Gus all mangled in my ute? Granted, the ultrasound jelly here was warmed, but give me the cold jelly and baby image over boob tissue any day.
The tech left to go show the radiologist.
Where the hell is everyone? They are contacting the hem/onc department--I know it. And I'm doomed.
Wait and text my best friend and Eric in a panic.
In walks THREE PEOPLE. Nothing ever good happens when the tech comes back with the radiologist and health professional of unknown origin (HPUO). (Taking the theme of unknown origin too far?)
I think the HPUO was a resident. But I totally blacked out when the radiologist said she wanted to take some of her own images, so I can't be sure. She started scanning me and here is the thing...we all felt the bullet in my boob, but it did not show up on ultrasound. And she scanned all quadrants and then I started crying. Because, well, I was 1 week postpartum and getting my boobs ultrasounded (made up verb) and they couldn't find everything because this cancer was one wily SOB and mutated into a form that can't be picked up by ultrasound. PTSD y'all.
So she kept saying that it all looked like normal breast tissue and I had one large cyst. And that I needed to just monitor and follow-up with my OB.
Diagnosis: palpable mass of unknown origin that is not visible upon ultrasound. (Ie, as my OB said, "chill the 'explitive' out. It's nothing to worry about." Okay, he didn't say that but that's what my mind wants to remember.)
So I am learning to be okay with all this unknown origin business. I'm learning to trust that Eric's skin issue and my boob issues are nothing. I'm learning to accept the fact that there can be more than one leap from odd bodily issue to cancer.
And I'm learning to believe that sometimes life repeats itself, but sometimes, it's not Groundhog's day...and I'm not destined to spend my maternity leave dealing with another health crisis.
I'm learning to release my cancer anxiety of KNOWN origin and enjoy the fact that I have one squishy baby who needs a present Mama...and her bullet boobs.