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The moment just before change

standard January 12, 2010 8 responses

I drove towards the new doctor’s office focusing hard on both my breathing and the speed limit. Being stopped by a cop would do nothing to ease my anxiety or to get me to the medical office faster. I waited patiently at the light and tried hard not to finger the lump in my neck.

To the world I was going to the doctor to see about the rash that has plagued me for months. To myself I was going to see about the lump that was increasingly worrying me.

Don’t Google “Lump in Neck.” It’s not good.

As I peered at the street numbers, I took in the trees and the people walking by. It all looked so ordinary. So normal. My hand stole to my neck and I wondered how it would all look tomorrow if the doctor’s diagnosis were life changing. Would that tree still look so ordinary? Would those people still be nondescript?

I thought about my life and wondered what I would regret taking for granted. I thought about the hugs I had gotten from my kids when I dropped them off, the kiss M gave me as he headed off to work. How would I feel if I knew they were numbered?

The lump turned out to be nothing. A swollen lymph node. Probably inflamed in response to the rash. And when I left the doctor’s office the trees were still ordinary trees and the people were still nondescript. But the kisses I got from the girls at pick-up tasted sweeter and the hug I got from M when he got home did too.

There are so many things that we take for granted every day. And while it’s impossible to always live in the moment and to be hyper aware of every little detail, I’m glad I got a brief reminder to take notice of the important details in my life.

My lymph node is still inflamed and I’m finding myself fingering it just as often as I did before I knew it was benign. I touch my neck when I get irritated at the girls for taking too long to get dressed or to eat their meals. I poke at the lump when I’m annoyed at being in traffic. It’s my constant reminder that life could be much more complicated, that it could also be much more fleeting.

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8 responses

  • Oy.. glad it turned out to be nothing. I remember when I was a teen.. I had this lump behind my ear.. of course I was convinced it was cancer. And for the week or so leading up to my doctors appt I kept living out various scenarios in my head.. Turned out to just be a blocked oil gland (that delivers oil to the hair follicles).. and apparently quite common and recurring too.. But still, even now when things come up like that I still have all the “what if” scenarios floating through my head.. Glad it was nothing!

  • I second that OY! and raise you and OMG!

    –and share in a !

    Now… if only the Dr’s could diagnose so easily the rash.

    Thank you for sharing the reminder how fleeting and precious life is.

  • ooops…for that that brackets are translated as html…

    that “!” was for a *sigh of relief!*

  • Yep, I remember that….except my lump turned out to be something (9 years out – woot!). I’m so glad your turned out to be nothing! It is good to take time now to have a little perspective on how rich and full your life it. Enjoy 🙂

    (How perfect is it that the word verification on my comment is “livin”?)

  • So glad to hear that it was just swollen lymph node! I took A to the dr. once for the same thing…except hers felt like a series of little bumps. It was just after she had gotten better from something, part of me was hoping that it was just her lymph reacting (but delayed), and of course the thought that it was cancer came up. I felt silly for taking her to the Dr. 2 days after we had just seen her for her virus, but I felt much better afterward.

  • I have a problem with swelling nodes, and the first time the doctor found one she was worried about, I could tell. But she told me, “DO NOT look this up on the internet.” I didn’t. I was okay, and now every time I get sick and she gets that look on her face when she feels that area, I remind her the node thing is my body’s thing.

    I have an 18 year old friend with leukemia. Two months ago her nodes were swollen, so they thought she then also had an additional kind of cancer. I didn’t even know that could happen. She had biopsies of many nodes…and it turned out to be infection–just because the leukemia couldn’t keep her infection free.

    She’s in the hospital right now, with a raging fever. She looks at trees by the way, but I don’t think she looks at them differently. She just tries to hold on to normal, like we all do, while finding God’s little miracles along the way, like we all should.

  • So glad you’re okay. Very very scary.

    I’m so annoyed that I’m 24 hours behind your posts on this feed… I talked to you today and hadn’t read this!

    I’m still digesting your scare. So relieved you’re fine.

  • Good news! Glad it’s nothing too serious.

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