I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Waiting for the results of a biopsy to find out whether or not you have cancer is very stressful, and maintaining a positive attitude takes an awful lot of energy. The emotional roller coaster of the last few weeks has been comparable in many ways to the feelings I experienced when my baby was in the NICU. It’s the not knowing what tomorrow will bring that makes things so hard.
My journey began in January with a screening mammogram that turned out to be suspicious enough to warrant a follow-up, diagnostic mammogram. That test, too, showed suspicious results, requiring a biopsy to determine whether the small, isolated cluster of microcalcifications that had appeared in one of my breasts since my last mammogram was the result of something malignant or benign.
One thing I am learning along the way is how to deal with the stress that goes with waiting to find out the answer to that big question: Do I have cancer?
Writing down my feelings
As a writer, naturally I find some comfort in writing down my feelings when I am stressed. Often, I write in a journal, the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper. These musings are for me, alone, and they can help me sort the thoughts that flow freely from my mind as I set ink to paper without restriction or inhibition.
Sometimes, I find that writing about my situation openly helps even more. I feel like maybe, if I write about what I am going through and it helps someone else, my stress is at least good for something.
Talking to friends and family
I don’t always feel like being open with my friends and family. In some ways, it’s easier to write an article that the whole world might read than to sit down and talk about how I’m feeling with those closest to me, because my husband, my kids, my parents and the others who are closest to me are affected directly in ways that strangers are not. But I’ve found that opening up about my concerns and talking to the people I care about has really helped reduce my stress in unexpected ways.
For example, I’ve discovered that other women in my life have gone through the same procedures, and some have even been diagnosed with cancer themselves and I didn’t know it. Talking about my own feelings has allowed friends to open up and talk about their experiences, which has helped me to feel connected and less stressed.
Trusting in prayer
I’ve noticed, since opening up publicly about this experience, that many people have offered prayers. I value prayer, and seek God’s wisdom and mercy actively in my own life, so I very much appreciate the prayers offered by others on my behalf.
One thing I have decided to do is to make a specific prayer request. Since my biggest fear, and the thing that is causing me the most stress at this time, is the possibility of a false negative result or otherwise inconclusive reading, I have asked those who offer prayer to please pray for accurate results when my biopsy is taken. I do believe that all things are possible with God, even complete healing, but I am content to trust in Him for good, solid answers so I will have all the information I need to make the best decisions if any further treatment is needed.
And so, with seven days to go until I can sit down and find out the results of my upcoming biopsy, I’ve done all I can tonight to alleviate the stress I am feeling. Just having written these few paragraphs, I feel less overwhelmed than I did before I began. If you are reading this, awaiting similar results, I pray you find comfort, too.
More by Tavia:
Talk About Your Mammogram, it Could Save Someone’s Life
I Got the ‘Bad Mammogram’ Letter: What’s Next?
Best Time to Get a Mammogram