I looked into a mirror and noticed a grain of sleep in the corner of my left eye. I rubbed it away and it was yellow, like maybe I had a bit of an infection. I leaned in closer to the mirror to get a better look and pulled my eyelid open, out to the side. Hiding next to my eyeball, I saw a large mass, maybe an inch across. It was a strange smooth green, not a friendly-looking sort of thing. I stretched my eyelid open even more and turned it almost inside out as I pushed the thing out with my fingers. It fell into the sink. Looking deeply into my own eye again, I felt satisfied there was nothing left of the infection. It had all come out at once.I thought about the dream a long time and hoped it was a sign that soon I would get a report from my surgeon saying that I am now clear, and that I don't have to worry any longer about a malignancy. I've also been playing around with another interpretation: that something infectious and hidden has been threatening my vision, but a recent discovery has brought it to light, and I am able to rid myself of the danger, though the process is an unusual stretch. I imagine the answer is a hybrid of those two ideas.
I can claim that because we just got word a little while ago about my pathology report: BENIGN.
BENIGN! BENIGN! BENIGN!
I want to thank you, dear Bucket Brigade, for all your kindness and love and prayers and good thoughts and support. Thank you for indulging me and for patiently reading a few too many emails about a problem that was far less heavy than some of what you are presently dealing with. You are good people, the best. I love you. Thank you for extending your friendship and faith in our behalf. I've learned a lot from you.
I have to tell you this. There was a time early on, when I started receiving some responses to my initial call for prayers, etc.—it was that Saturday when we fasted for help—that I felt something I'd never felt before, and it was about you. I could FEEL the energies you were investing in Rob and me, via your prayers, anxious and hopeful thoughts, and whatever ways you chose to be with us. My heart was moved in a new way. I don't know how to describe correctly the thing that happened inside me, except to say that I prayed for you too that weekend, for every one of you, as well as for the ones I would never know were enlisted in the Brigade. I asked God to bless you in your heartaches and troubles and dreams, and—here's the interesting part—I asked him to bless you forever for the love you were sending and would send our way through this scary blink of time. (How, how, how can I say that so it comes across to you as big as what I felt and still feel? Augh! Words are such a bother sometimes.) There will never come a day when I stop appreciating the sweet fine gifts of encouragement and compassion you've shared with us, whether I actually heard or read them or whether you kept them quiet and private. Every day as long as I exist someplace those energies will be important to me, and will be part of who I am and what propels me forward. Your gifts are never-ending. It kind of blows my mind. Even if next year some of you disown me (please don't) or worse (don't), what you created for me/us in our vulnerable time will continue to be. Am I making sense? It was the greatest feeling to have the sense of one giant round of concern circling, to pray for you while you were praying for me. I'm still praying for you.
So. So there.
Did you hear? It's BENIGN! (Good job, Brigade.)
P.S. Clarification for a few people who expressed confusion about the details of surgery, etc.—The alien mass inside me was right up against my chest wall and that made it impossible for the surgeon to do a simple biopsy. I didn't have a mastectomy; I had kind of a two-in-one operation; the surgeon opened me up and took out the mass and surrounding tissues, and sent it to the lab for analysis. Since he had to go in like that just to do the initial biopsy it made sense to try to remove the entire problem on the first go in order to hopefully avoid a second surgery if the biopsy came back malignant. Does that make more sense than whatever I said the first time? Bottom line for now: NO malignancy, NO second operation. Just vigilant mammograms from here on out. (Oh, joy.)