Wednesday, January 16, 2013

3 in a million

Last July I felt a lump on my lower abdomen.  I was pregnant.  As anyone who has ever been pregnant will tell you, you feel all sorts of lumps in your abdomen when you're pregnant.  This particular lump showed up when Miss Michaela (then called Mysterion) went head down.  It made perfect sense to me that the lump was her shoulder.  Several midwives, even my mother agreed with my assessment that it was a shoulder.  Then I got suspicious.  It didn't move.  Ever. It stayed in that same spot for months.  So when I was 35 weeks I asked my midwife if she thought it was the baby.  I explained my suspicions, and she said no.  That definitely wasn't baby.  I got scared. A little scared anyway.  She referred me for an ultrasound.  That's when I got much more scared.  The lump was solid, but what was more scary was that it had central blood flow.  Four days after I gave birth I had the lump removed.  When the pathology report came back, they weren't sure what it was but they suspected that it was a desmoid tumor.  Desmoids are a particularly rare form of tumor that occurs in 2-4 of every million people.  They aren't considered cancer because they don't travel in the body, but they can invade other tissues locally.  They are also known to grow back after they are removed.  So, they had to go back in and take out wider margins.  I thought that was the end of it, but I was really sore in a pretty wide area around the incision 2 weeks later.  I went in to ask the surgeon if it was normal.  She said that my incision looked great...but.  I hate that word.  Every time I hear that word come from a doctor, it means needles.  I hate needles. I know everybody hates needles, but I really don't cope with them well.  I hyperventilate.  I cry.  I faint.  It's not pretty.
Apparently, at my last surgery, there was no visual way to tell if the tissue was abnormal or not, and the pathology had to be done at the Mayo Clinic.  She took out what she hoped would be enough.  Unfortunately, when the pathology came back, it turned out that most of that tissue was still abnormal. There were clear margins, but not large enough to be reasonably assured that it wouldn't grow back.  So here I am, 9 weeks postpartum getting ready for my third surgical procedure in that time.  I know that I should feel lucky that it was caught so early.  If I hadn't been pregnant, we might not have caught it before it invaded the muscle tissue.  I don't have to do any reconstruction.  I should feel lucky.  I do.  I'm just tired of all these invasive procedures.  I want to get back into the gym.  I'm tired of carrying around all this baby weight. I'm tired of having to shield my tummy from everything.  Do you have any idea how many things bump into your lower abdomen on an average day that you don't even think about?
Ok.  I'm done complaining.  I'm back to feeling lucky.
Here's the layout that I did about my thoughts when we first discovered the lump using the Tuesday Morning Kit from One Little Bird Designs.