Friday, September 18, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing?

George Carlin once had a hilarious comedy routine preying on our paranoia. Somewhere he had read that only female mosquitoes bite. But the females don't buzz. Only the non-biting males buzz. So he talked about the ridiculousness of us, lying in bed, riddled with anxiety because we hear a mosquito buzzing around the room. "Relax", he said, "it won't bite!" And then the awesome kicker: "BUT—" he quipped,"If you hear NOTHING...."


Hold that thought.

Nearly 18 years ago my mother died of cancer. When she was just a year older than I am, she had found a lump and went in for a mammogram. The doctor told her it was nothing. She relaxed and went home. Two years later she went back, stating simply that the lump was getting bigger. This time? It was Stage 4 cancer — a malignant tumor, metastasized throughout the lymphatic system. She died four years later, after a very hard fight.

Hold that thought, too, if you can manage two at once....

So, a month or so ago I very vaguely referred to an abnormal mammogram in this post. They found, essentially, nothing. Mailed me a letter confirming there is no evidence of cancer. But because of my history, they sent me for a follow-up ultrasound. Again, nothing. They called and said I should come back in six months for a follow-up. But I think my mother's story scared them. Because the next day they called back and said they were scheduling me with a surgeon. (A WHAT?) "Just for a second opinion," they said. "It's probably nothing."

So today I spent nearly three hours in a surgeon's office (a whopping ninety minutes of those in the WAITING ROOM—which must be a metaphor because sometimes it seems like my whole LIFE is a waiting room!) only to be told that the reports and the exam conclude there is (you guessed it) nothing. But because my mother's nothing turned out to be a very big something, this time they're recommending an MRI. Oh my goodness, I wonder, Where will it stop? In my case, we have to panic when we hear nothing. Because when we're afraid of NOTHING, suddenly EVERYTHING is suspect.

Next week I go in for the MRI. Hopefully they will find whatever it is. Because there appears to be no end to the amount of nothing that can be found, and no end to the lengths they are willing to go in order to find it!


L.T. Elliot said...

I'm praying for nothing. Because NOTHING better happen to you. I simply adore you too much.

Marie said...

Phew . . . down and another to go!! Nothing like stagnant news!!!

Kristina P. said...

I really, really hope that it's nothing. I am thinking of you!

Melanie J said...

I'm sorry you have to worry but I'm so glad to hear they're being more careful. They treated my mom more like yours and now she's gone. The nice thing is that when they do find nothing after the MRI, you'll have total peace of mind that there really was nothing to find.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'm casting my vote for more of nothing. You do always wonder if they're not telling you something, though, don't you?

Allison said...

Here's to hoping it's truly nothing. Is hope strong enough? If not, you can substitute the word "praying." Or maybe I'll just substitute the action. In any case, what a support system you have. It makes me joyful just to think of how many people love you.

The Mom said...
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The Mom said...
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The Mom said...

Oh my gosh, I cannot spell tonight!

My prayers are with you, and here's hoping they find nothing again!

Sandy M. said...

Jana, I hope that you are not worrying too much - it really sounds as though it truly is .. nothing. It's good that they are being so very thorough though, isn't it?

We have a children's songwriter in Australia called Don Spencer (randomly - he is the father of Danielle Spencer, who married Russell Crowe :) - who wrote lots of great songs, including one about the Aussie mosquito. The tune is really fun too, but here are some of the words:
(nb A cossie is a costume; a possie is a position)

She's a little Aussie mossie in her Aussie mossie cossie
And she's looking for a possie on your unprotected skin
When she's finished her inspection she will give you an injection
And you'll have an itch to show you where the Aussie mossie's been

It's the female of the species that's biting us to pieces
'Cause the Aussie mossie's brother doesn't bite at all

There's a great proliferation in the mossie population
It's a constant irritation to us all
Yes it's hard to feel affection when she heads in your direction
'Cause the little Aussie mossie is out to get us all!

(So now you know some Aussie slang and an Aussie song :)

..I hope it was a nice waiting room :) I hope that your week is full of lots of good somethings.. Real things, that make you smile. Keep remembering to breathe... :)

Kazzy said...

Hey friend. I go in next Monday for my 6-monther. Ugh. I will be thinking of you. I am so so glad they are super-careful nowadays. I think some hard lessons were learned years back. Warm wishes.

Eowyn said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry or a little bit of both and a lot of prayer.

Love you to pieces and I too hope they find nothing. :)

Heather of the EO said...

Nothing can be so scary.

Sweet lady, it MUST be nothing.

Peace to you,

Heather of the EO said...

Wait. Ugh...comments.

That sounded like I was saying "DUH" at this point isn't it obvious that it's nothing?

But that's not what I meant.

It was more of a demand prayer...It MUST be nothing.

Hope that made sense...

Tammy Lorna said...

Hi Jana,
It's great that you've got a sense of humour about it. I often think that if the alternative to laughter is stressing and crying, than it's probably better to be laughing. Especially if the concern is not normally laughable! I do hope everything is fine for you, although I'm pretty sure there's 'nothing' wrong :)

xo Tammy

PS. We're now all waiting for your next email confirming the 'nothing'... :)

PPS. I was going to tell you about our mosquito song, but Mum's already told you :) If we ever get to meet in person again, I'll have to one-up-her by singing it for you - I grew up on those songs!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I am still holding my thought ... and my breath. And I hope it continues to be just nothing. Praying for you!

Brillig said...

Well, I was just about to email you and ask exactly this. Hooray for yet another "nothing." And, also, as much of a pain as it is, I'm glad they're taking your "nothing" so very seriously.

Now, let me say this. The title of this post? Brilliant. The way you make me want to laugh and cry? In one little post? Also brilliant. Requiring me to hold two thoughts at once-- thoughts that are so overwhelmingly different? Means you expect ME to be brilliant. Which makes you brilliant. And for that, and a million other reasons, I love you. :-D

Barbaloot said...

Hopefully it IS nothing!! I'm glad for you sake that they're being super thorough(perhaps even paranoid?) because of your history.

deb said...

Thinking thoughts of nothing.
Please keep us in yours while you wait this all out to the final thumbs up.
Sorry to hear about your mother, btw, how sad and frustrating and tragic.

and on a lighter note, sorry for sending my comment on your last post 3 times. ???


Kimberly said...

Oi, you must be exhausted from all this, luv! I'll be praying for continued "nothing" for you, and that you can have some peace in this respect very, very soonly.

InkMom said...

Here's to nothing, right?

I have a very dear friend who just delivered her baby, due three weeks after me. So now instead of going home from the hospital with her bundle of joy, she's looking at probably two months of daily trips (45 minutes each way) to the nearest NICU to visit her little one who arrived 10 weeks early. She had severe preeclampsia during her pregnancy, and her group of physicians (the same group caring for me during this pregnancy) put her in the hospital faster than she could protest it.

I have another friend expecting twins a week after me (so she's 33 weeks along right now). Her blood pressure is extremely elevated, she is so swollen that she can hardly walk and she looks like she's in the middle of an extreme anaphylactic reaction to something. Her lab results are just as bad as the other friends were, but for some reason, her doctors are not treating her with the same degree of care that we've all observed with our other friend.

So this is my long winded way of saying . . . aren't you kind of glad that they've exhausted all their resources? Even though her baby was 10 weeks early, we can never be sure that she wouldn't have had him at 27 weeks had her doctors not been so cautious in treating her condition. Now, my friend, you can be confident in the diagnosis because . . . well, what else can they possibly do to make one? You can rest assured that every possible test has been run, every avenue explored, and if you come out if it with a clean bill of health, it really makes it a clean-er bill of health because of the lengths that were taken to arrive in that most wonderful of places.

Love you, praying for you.

LisAway said...

This is funny. And also not funny. How do you manage that? :)

I, like the others, am glad that they take these things so seriously for you. Very glad. Sorry that nothing ends up taking up so much of your life these days. :)

LisAway said...

Oh, also, I recently wrote a series of articles about breast cancer so it's nice (?) to sort of feel in the know about what it all means.

Heidi Ashworth said...

I'm going through this process now and went through it 3 years ago (my mother, grandmother and one of my sisters all had breast cancer--all survived it). So, my health provider is totally anxious about me. I would rather be safe than sorry but sometimes I feel like I'm spending my time, energy, money, etc, just to make some amorphous institution get over a case of anxiety. Can't they just pop a pill?