Not at all what I expected…

Going into the biopsy appointment this morning, I felt peace. Prayers had been poured out on me by family and friends all week. My sweet Pastor prayed for me over the phone yesterday afternoon. I trusted God with the process and the outcome of the test. Like in so many things in life, I knew that I couldn’t truly prepare for the procedure ahead of time or know what exactly to expect. I’d breathe deeply and pray my way through the experience. Or so I thought…

Unfortunately, my anxiety started to build as they got me situated in the mammogram machine and I waited for the first numbing injection. Breathing deeply was made more difficult by the mask I was wearing. I tolerated the first injection fine, but when the doctor told me, “These next two injections are going to go much deeper into the breast tissue,” I started to panic. I could feel the next injection deeply.

“I feel like I’m going to faint,” I said. The next thing I know (a minute or two later?) I was out of the mammogram machine, lying down and feeling all those terrible fainting feelings: sweaty, shaky, panicked breathing. I started saying, “I’m sorry” over and over again to the doctor, technician and assistant.

As I started to feel relatively better, but still not ready to sit up, the doctor and I talked through the options. She suggested we could just complete the left-side biopsy and put off the right-side for later. That sounded good to me! She said I’d have to be able to sit up through the procedure. I asked, “How long does it take?” to which she replied, “Twenty minutes”.

“No way! I won’t be able to do that,” I told her bluntly.

My history of fainting goes pretty far back. I fainted twice when I was 12-year-olds: during my immunizations and also when I got my ears pierced. Laying on the floor behind the cash registers at the Bayshore Mall Claire’s is still one of my most humiliating moments! For many years I asked to lay down for blood draws for diabetes related tests. I overcame that particular issue when I was pregnant and had SO MANY blood draws.

I’ve either fainted or vomited during most all IVs I’ve experienced. Just a couple months ago, I had an eye exam that involved an IV and I did fine! Perhaps that gave me a false sense of confidence going into today’s procedure.

It didn’t even occur to me that I might pass out during the biopsies. I’m not sure why: maybe just my optimistic nature or because it’s been over a decade since I’ve fainted. If I’d been cognizant of this possibility, I would not have felt such peace all week. As I posted on FB yesterday: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:31-34). I didn’t know the awful feelings that awaited me today, until it happened. Ultimately, God protected me by limiting the scope of my imagination ahead of time.

There’s a peace in acknowledging that my body’s response of fainting during invasive medical procedures is beyond my control. If I could tolerate this type of thing, I would gladly do it! I feel empowered to at least be armed with this knowledge so I can talk to my doctors about how to proceed with monitoring or performing future tests for breast cancer. Thankfully, the doctor told me today that she expects the results would be benign and advised I could follow-up in six months. The lack of urgency is comforting.

Thank you ALL for the care and concern you’ve shown me. Your prayers for peace and a good result were answered! I felt peace and I’m not spending the next few days worrying about a test result.

Today didn’t go at all as I expected, but I trust that God has a plan. Last night, Teo referred to the poem he memorized for Speech Meet in second grade when he prayed, “Whatever is, is best, God”. Such true and comforting words.

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