Though I have been dreading to write this post and may ask myself why I need to write it, I feel I need to write it because it is a part of my story, my life and my family’s story!
Back in early march, a time of holding my newborn, caring for her, realizing our life had now been completed with this tiny bundle of joy, something stopped me dead in my tracks. One night while nursing Emerson, enjoying the very thing that connected us so deeply, since she was no longer a part of my body, I felt a lump in my neck. I am not one to feel my glands in my neck, especially because I hadn’t felt sick, or didn’t believe I was fighting off a cold, but there it was a lump, and I felt a pit in my stomach knowing it wasn’t supposed to be there. I went to the walk-in only to hear the doctors concern because it was not a painful lump or one that moved. After meeting with my new dr. for a follow-up appointment then a physical, he felt I needed to have an Ultrasound done and then see an ENT. So I had the ultrasound scheduled and found an ENT that would see me sooner than later. The ENT reviewed my ultrasound and explained to me that it was a mass in my submandibular gland. From what I read on the mass/tumors in this gland, the rate of cancer was higher in this salivary gland than in the other one. The ENT confirmed this finding and said it was 50/50 and he wanted to do a biopsy. So we quickly scheduled that only to find out that they didn’t get enough of a sample to rule out cancer. Of course, still at square one the ENT thought a CT scan with contrast would help draw some more of a clear picture as to what we were dealing with.
The thing with a CT contrast is that the material they use is radioactive and I am nursing Emerson, so they told me I couldn’t nurse her for 24 hours. Well that would be all fine and dandy if she took a bottle, but unfortunately like the two before her, she boycotted any form of bottle. I tried for two weeks in hopes that she would get that this was urgent. So in all the failed attempts I consulted a lactation consultant and she put my worry to rest and informed me that I could in fact nurse her, and that the agent they were using would not enter into my milk, and that it was an agent they would use on babies in the event they needed a scan done.
So I had the CT scan hoping this would draw some conclusion and set a clear path forward, but no such luck. They couldn’t see anything on the scan, but the mass is still there. My worst fear became my reality, I was told surgery was the only option. So I asked how long I could put if off, two months was his best recommendation. In the last two months I have worked hard to make sure Emerson is on food, and can drink something from a sippy cup. But with this I still worry. I know my daughter, she likes to nurse, it is comfort for her. I still worry how long I will be under and how long it will be till I can nurse her. I have one more week of worrying, and though I am dreading the surgery, I am hoping god will answer my prayers and this mass will be benign and I will come through the surgery and heal quickly.
I have a hard time giving it up to god, I am a bit of a worrier and a control freak. Having surgery and giving up the control over my body goes against my comfort. As a mother I have four babies I worry about on top of my health. I pray hard every second of the day, I try and have faith that it will all turn out alright, because that is just how it has to be.
My babies need me and I need them. I want them to know that I love them more than they could possibly imagine. I want to be healthy and here to watch them grow and share in their life journey. That’s just the way it is supposed to be!