Monday, November 18, 2013

Word etymology

So the other day, my husband asks me, "What do you think is the connection between the words hysteria and hysterectomy?"

Do not even ask why he was thinking about such a thing.  Just pray for me.  And for him.  Yes, pray for both of us.  Please.

I told him, "Look it up on the computer.  Look under the word etymology, and you will be able to find out."

I've been curious myself, since then, but it was not until today that I finally remembered to follow up on it.  I used (this is my credit to them... not up to MLA standards, but I am not trying to steal any information from anybody).

HYSTERECTOMY is from the Greek word "hystera" which means womb, and the Greek word "ektome" which means a cutting out.

Then I looked up HYSTERIA, which gave me no information.  However, it pointed me to the entry for HYSTERICAL where I found that HYSTERICAL comes from the Latin word, "hystericus," which comes from the Greek word "hysterikos" which means of the womb, suffering in the womb, from "hystera," the Greek for wombOriginally, the word HYSTERICAL was defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus.  The usage of the word HYSTERICAL to mean very funny began around 1939 and comes from the notion of uncontrollable (read: mentally unstable) fits of laughter.

I am not sure whether to take umbrage at this, or whether to accept serenely that unstable emotions and womanly complaints have been associated and connected for hundreds of years.

Monday, November 11, 2013

On Beauty (or, finally, the final "Good-bye girls" post)

While shopping in my local Walgreens the other day, I walked past a display of beauty products based on Disney villainesses.  What?  Because mean beauty is the most powerful beauty?

It reminded me of a slogan I saw pasted on Facebook a few weeks ago:  "Today, dress like you're going to meet your worst enemy!"  The idea, of course, is that you need to look your best when you enter social combat.

This makes me profoundly sad.  I do not believe that God made beauty so that it could be used as a tool to frighten, dominate or intimidate others.

What is true beauty, and how should we seek to achieve beauty in our own, personal appearance?

The Bible says, "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV).  That's nice, and certainly true, albeit a bit difficult to apply directly to one's morning routine.

I have been thinking on this topic for a long time, ever since I began the "Good-bye girls" series over two years ago.  Because I am not what you'd call a beautiful woman, and I am certainly not stylish, it has taken me this long actually to broach the subject.  Of course I am unqualified, but I will try to share three principles of beauty that I think are important.

You should strive to bring glory to God through your appearance, because the Bible tells us that whatever we do, we should do it all to the glory of God. 
(1 Corinthians 10:31)

This has numerous applications, but the most obvious ones are...

(a)  You should care for your body respectfully as the temple of God.  Be clean, well-groomed and as healthy as possible.  Eat wisely, sleep wisely, exercise wisely.  Remember that your physical appearance is the first thing anybody ever sees, and if you belong to the Lord, then people's judgments about how you look will be related to their judgments about Christians in general.  Be a good testimony to the grace of God by presenting yourself well, but not in such as way as to draw undue attention.

(b)  Since, as we mentioned, your physical appearance is the first thing anybody ever sees, craft your appearance with care to help people be drawn to the Lord rather than pushed away from Him.  Paramount here is modesty.  Be careful to dress in a manner that does not tempt a man to think about sex.  You can look very pretty and pleasant without looking like a sexual object, and you should strive for that aim.   If in doubt, cover it up.

You should be considerate of others when preparing your appearance.

We already touched on this with modesty.  You are being considerate of others' thought lives when you dress modestly.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told men that they are sinning, committing adultery in their hearts, if they look on a woman and lust after her.  You can be considerate of men by not tempting them to this sin by the way you dress.

You are also considerate of others when you dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable.  Don't try to outdress everyone when you go to a social event, but don't wear something distractingly casual, either.  Have a good idea of what the dress code is for various situations, and dress accordingly.  Wear rugged work clothes when you show up to help someone rake his yard, so he doesn't feel guilty for asking you to be hard on your good clothes.  Wear something neat, classy and professional when you make a presentation.  Wear bright clothing with fun patterns when you will be interacting with children.  Wear something special and attractive to honor someone's special occasion.

Keep in mind that how we prepare our physical appearance is a primary way that humans communicate with one another.  What you look like says a lot about you.  Think about how you look and evaluate what message your appearance conveys.

You can't change your face, but you can wash it and moisturize it!  Heavy make-up is often intimidating or offensive, but a light layer of base foundation over less-than-perfect skin can be soothing for people who look at you all day long.  Clean, nicely styled hair and well-fitting clothing also put people around you at ease.  Wearing expensive, cutting-edge styles may cause people to admire you, but it rarely helps them feel comfortable around you.  And if you go out with hair in your eyes, buttons that threaten to burst, or Lycra stretched to translucence, people will be on edge worrying about what will happen next.  Take sensible measures to make yourself neat and attractive, and stop there.

Since your appearance automatically communicates a message, use your appearance to communicate kindness, consideration and love.

Do not allow others' opinions 
to dictate your style.

Although you should certainly dress in a way that is considerate of others, this does not mean that you dress to "please" others.

Once when I was a Bible study teacher, someone from my Bible study kindly sent me an anonymous gift, a beautiful Vera Bradley bag.  I rarely (well, probably never) would have splurged to buy such an item for myself, but I was happy and pleased to own something so stylish.  However, over time I began to notice that people treated me differently when I carried that bag.  I got many, many compliments.  Once a woman complimented me and I said, "Oh, it was an anonymous gift..."  She responded with astonishment, "A gift?  Do you know, that must have cost $75 or more?  That is some gift!"  Clerks in stores treated me with more respect and deference than I'd ever experienced before.  Nurses in doctors' offices asked me what I did for a living (ha!).  For a time I enjoyed the feeling, but after awhile it began to bother me that something as silly as a handbag could have such a huge effect on how people treated me.

I tell that story to encourage you not to try to be a people-pleaser, nor to follow all the latest trends and styles primarily for the respect and power it will gain you around others who may not be able to afford what you have chosen to purchase and display.

  • Don't buy something for the power it will give you.
  • Don't wear something to intimidate others or to show off.
  • Don't dress immodestly because you think it will make you more attractive to someone.
  • Don't follow a fad merely because of peer pressure.

As you prepare yourself each morning, getting ready to go out and face yet another day, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does the way I look bring glory to God and bear an appropriate testimony to His grace in my life?
  2. Does my appearance demonstrate consideration for those who will be with me today?
  3. Am I presenting myself in a way that shows love for my family, friends and fellow humans on this earth?

And.  If all else fails, a nice fitting pair of khaki slacks, a navy blue cardigan, neatly brushed and tied back hair, a light coat of foundation and a flicker of mascara is appropriate for almost any situation.

Other posts in this series:
Good-bye, girls--part one,
Good-bye, girls--part two,
Good-bye, girls--part three,
Good-bye, girls--part four.
Good-bye, girls--part five
Good-bye, girls--part six 
Good-bye, girls--part seven

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pumpkin Muffins

Last year, I went on a quest to make pumpkin muffins.  I combed the internet and tried a bunch of recipes, none of which were any good at all.

This year, when I had a hankering for pumpkin muffins, I made a half recipe of my pumpkin streusel cake and baked it in cupcake cups.  They were delicious, but very sweet and not very healthy.

I had about a cup of pumpkin left over from that project, and today I got brave.  In order to use up my pumpkin, I experimented and made up my own pumpkin muffin recipe. 

They're great!  (Not gluten or sugar free, but very nice, and reasonably nutritious.)

(that's luscious melted butter on there... 
I was trying to get the photo while there was still part of a solid pat, but I was too slow)

Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
~1 cup pumpkin (maybe a little more; it's not so fussy)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp clove (I just sprinkled some in)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup oats (I used quick oatmeal flakes)

Mix together and set aside.  Sift together:

1 cup flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.  
Spoon into greased muffin tins.  
Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Makes 12.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


When we found out we would be moving, about 10 months ago, we made a list of what we would like in our next house.

The house we ended up with does not match our list.  At all.

1.  We wanted a ranch with a finished walk-out basement.  We got a two-story with an unfinished basement that does not have potential for finishing.  (There are doors out the basement to the backyard, but they can hardly count, as the whole point was that the basement be habitable.)  But.  At least we got a basement at all.

2.  We wanted a house in the country with, minimum, a half acre lot.  We got a house in a neighborhood with a quarter acre lot.

3.  We wanted a house with brick.  Most of the houses in the area have brick... this was not an extravagant desire, it seemed very attainable.  But we got a house with no brick, just faded gray vinyl siding.

4.  We wanted a gas stove.  We got an electric stove.

5.  After our first house, in North Syracuse, we swore we would never again buy a house with a corner lot.  We have a corner lot.

6.  We wanted a house with natural woodwork.  We got a house with white woodwork.

7.  We wanted a three car garage.  We got a two car garage.

8.  I really, really did not want a glass shower door.  I have a glass shower door.  And it is not in pristine condition.

9.  I did not care about a whirlpool bathtub, did not really want one.  Guess what?  I got one.

10.  I wanted a broom closet.  But there is no broom closet.  No pantry, either.  Yet.

11.  We did not put this on our list, but we had spent the past 18 years upgrading our old house, getting rid of pale beige "plush" carpet in favor of more attractive, more resilient flooring and replacing vinyl bathroom floors with ceramic tile.  Shortly before we sold that house, we had replaced everything except the carpet in the walk-in closet in our bedroom.  The house we bought took us back to ground zero: seven rooms and a hallway of pale beige "plush" carpet, two bathrooms with vinyl floors, and a master bathroom with a combination of vinyl and (oh please) pale beige carpet.  Yes, there is pale beige carpet in my master bathroom.  Heavy sigh.

12.  The kitchen in this house is about as far removed from my taste as a kitchen could possibly be.  I cannot think of any combination of finishes that would be further from my taste than this kitchen.   Some days I simply feel as though I am mucking about in somebody else's kitchen; most often I feel like I'm in a beach house rental.  The bizarre choice of pastel-ish colors contributes to this impression.  The counter-tops are a cloying pink-beige, somewhere between salmon and very light terra-cotta clay, perfectly flat laminate with absolutely no pattern or texture.  The cabinets are blond, sort of a light skin-color.  The floor is 8x8 square ceramic tiles in a peachy-beige, not as pink as the counters, but pinker than the cabinets.   And the wide grout lines are dark gray, so the pattern of squares jumps out violently.  The backsplash is done in 4x4 white tiles, like a bathroom, but blessedly inobtrusive.  The hardware on the cabinets is all shiny yellow brass, as is the kitchen sink faucet, which is corroding horribly.  The sink itself is yet another ghastly shade of pink-beige.  The walls are a soft, sea-foam green which would not be a bad color if it actually matched anything, and if I could ever get past my quirky personal revulsion for living long-term in the color green.  So you see, multiple shades of pinky beige, blond wood, sea-foam green walls, bright yellow handles... it's pastel and beachy.  Light and bright.  But.  The appliances are black, and so is the rubber base cove molding.  A huge black refrigerator juts into the middle of the kitchen, blocking traffic.  Sometimes it goes beyond feeling like somebody else's kitchen and makes me feel tired.  And sad.  I would never in a million years have picked this kitchen.

 (This was taken while we were trying to get moved in, but it is still messy, 
as there is nowhere in this kitchen for storing large items like, 
for instance, a blender or a food processor.)

(The kitchen I left behind)

So I could complain.  I could whine and moan and struggle against what I have been given.  But, the fact of the matter is that God hedged us in until we bought this place.  It was not our first choice, or our second or even our fifth.  Somehow, God stripped away all our other options and this house was the one that was left.  A house I never, ever would have picked on my own.

So I have to believe that this is where God wants us.  He directed our path, put His hand on the circumstances, and brought us to this house.  And if this is where God wants us to live, then He must have a reason for wanting us to live here.  He has a purpose.  He has a purpose.  He does not do things carelessly, and He does not make mistakes.  The fact that this house is so completely different from what we were looking for makes me think that God worked diligently to place us here.  It is so unexpected, so unnatural, so hard to explain, barring His active will at work.

We must be patient and wait, hoping expectantly that God will work all things for good, as He promises.  Someday, we may be blessed to understand why He brought us here, specifically.  I'm quite sure it has nothing to do with decorating or earthly comforts.

In the meantime, we can be thankful that our neighborhood borders on this beautiful park where we take lovely, long walks.  God willing, we can work on changing the kitchen and -- I hope! -- getting the carpet out of our bathroom!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Losing history

I was fortunate to be able to visit my parents over the weekend.  It was my mother's 81st birthday.  These are precious days.

Shawn drove me.  I was planning to help drive.  It's an easy drive, no cities, mostly beautiful Wisconsin countryside.  The fall colors were still vibrant, and I felt the smile of God on me as the van chugged along the road and the dogs napped in their crate behind us.  I was planning to help drive, but I didn't feel good, so Shawn shouldered the burden and did it all.  Eight hours seems so minimal compared to the old eighteen.

I love the Midwest, everything about it.  I love the big blue sky and the spreading fields, the neat red barns and even the names, German and Swedish and solid.

In my parents' town, people know me.  Some of them I remember, although I remember faces more than names, and with the passing years, some of the faces look familiar but changed.  The eyes and the smiles are the same, but the colors are gone, replaced with white hair, pale skin and more wrinkles.  I want to know these people, and love them, and talk about old times with them.  They remember when I was a little girl with big brown eyes and shiny braids.  They are part of my history.

I am young when I am there.  I was barely more than a teenager when I left, and that is how they remember me.  Getting ready for church Sunday morning, I sat on the floor in my old bedroom and applied lotion to my legs.  I saw myself in the old, long mirror on the wall.  In dim light, lines in my face disappeared, along with gray hairs and spider veins.  I didn't look much different than I had looked at nineteen, when I was just getting to know Shawn, wondering how it would turn out, peering into the mirror as though it could answer questions about my future.  Now the future I wondered about is over and done: I married and raised four children.   Who would've thunk?

Back home in Illinois, I have no history, and this is where the loneliness stems from.  Nobody knows me here, what I was like as child or a teenager.  Nobody knows what I am good at, or what I am afraid of, or what makes me happy, or my allergies.  Renee Louise always used to make sure that there was fruit salad without kiwi in it for me, way back when.  Way back when.

I am almost willing simply to adopt someone's idea of me, and become that,  just to have something that I can be.  Any identity seems preferable to no identity.

How can one's identity be so bound up in one's history?  Who even am I?  For so long, I was primarily the mother of Shannon, David, Laura and Jon.

It's funny.  We changed churches when Jon was small.  I realized, in the new church, that I had lost my identity as the pregnant lady.  I'd been pregnant pretty much the whole time we'd been at the previous church.  I was the scattered, struggling, pregnant mom with too many kids.  And then, suddenly, I was not.  I was the mother of four school-aged children and nobody had known them when they were babies.  Nobody even knew that I was good with babies, or that I loved babies.  My youngest was six, and we did things like soccer, homework and piano lessons.

And now I've lost it all, even more.  Yesterday I went to the IGA to pick up some bratwurst for supper.  We live in the Midwest, and I just had a hankering for brats.  The lady ahead of me in line had a nice conversation with the check-out boy who, I gathered, was a drumline captain in the local marching band.  I wanted to say, "Hey!  Just last year, I was a marching band mom!  My son played trumpet!  Everybody loved him!"  But I didn't say anything.  The check-out boy politely greeted me and asked whether I'd found everything I was looking for.  "Yes, thank you," I told him, but I was talking about the bratwurst, not all the things I've lost that I will never find again.

I wonder how I would feel if I met someone who knows someone that I know, someone from Minnesota or New York.  I wonder if that would help?

The last time I moved, I created a new history for myself, over twenty-five years and pouring myself out into the lives of my four children.  I became a person with a new history.

But I wonder if I am too old to go through all that again.  Before we moved here, I dreaded starting all over trying to make a house a home, and wondered if I would die about the time I finished, if I finished.  But now I am beginning to see that it is not just a house.  The house is quite an external part of it.  It is my history.  I don't think I have it in me to create another history.  Again.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Results are in...

The results are in from my biopsy.

They are negative.  I am ok.

God is good.

Thank you.

Breast pain

If you are a man, you may not want to read this.  Just warning you.  I mean, you may have already figured it out from the title, but I want to make sure you are fully informed.  Some topics addressed in this post will be uncomfortable.  In fact, even if you are a woman, you may not want to continue reading.

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When I was an early teen, like all early teen females, I began to develop breasts, and this was excruciatingly embarrassing to me.  I had no desire to grow up, and would have happily stayed straight, skinny, platonic, asexual, genderless, and neutral forever.  I did not want to be a woman.  I most certainly did not want to be noticed for being a woman.

The solution was to hide in loose, floppy clothing as much as possible.  Since it was the late seventies, this was quite possible, peasant blouses being plentiful on the fashion scene.  I didn't know whether it was more mortifying to be seen with a curve on my chest or a bra strap showing through my shirt, so I compensated with layer upon layer of gathered calico.  Sometimes I didn't have enough layers to vary them throughout the week, so I wore the same things over and over, more willing to bear the humiliation of repeated outfits than the humiliation of exposing my development.  I hated breasts, despised, loathed and feared them.  And yet, there they were.

One spring day I was walking home from junior high, walking diagonally across Sorenson Park.  It was sunny, and my book bag hung heavy in my right hand.  As I walked, the book bag banging into my leg at each step, a pressure began to build in my right breast.  It was quite uncomfortable.  I wrapped the handle of the book bag more tightly around my hand and soldiered on, trying not to breathe too deeply, because something was catching in my breast with my deeper breaths.

At one point, the pressure increased suddenly and intense pain exploded in my right breast, reverberating and expanding.  Involuntarily, I leaned forward and cried out, pressing my left hand to my chest above my breast as though I were saying the pledge of allegiance, but the other-way-round.  Nobody was near me, but at a distance people populated the park.  Although I felt as if I might fall to the ground, I was determined not to call attention to my breast.   I did not look down to check whether blood was running out of my nipple as my senses suggested.  Pulling my right arm in as tight as possible to my side, using my left hand to rub my ribs where they joined my right shoulder, I continued moving forward, forcing myself to breathe, forcing myself to take steps.

By the time I arrived at home, the pain had subsided.  I never said anything to anyone about this experience.  I was too flushed with shame, and I didn't know how to explain it, anyway.

Since then, I've always felt lumpy, tender spots under my arms.  Under my arms.  Ha.

When my children were babies, I used to bathe them together.  Once as I was soaping one of them up, I said, "Let me wash your armpits," and the child said, "Mommy has big armpits!"  Another child (just as wet and soapy) replied in disdain, "Those aren't armpits.  Those are milks."  I never bothered to correct that terminology.  I liked to think of them as milks.  I felt it reflected their most noble purpose: nourishing infants. 

I always felt happy and surprised that my lumpy, tender milks were able to feed four babies.

"Do you do breast self-exams?" the doctor would always ask, and I would hem and haw, and not be responsible and talk about what I felt.  "They are tender," I would say.  "I have a fair amount of breast pain."

Then the doctor, an older gentleman with strong, warm fingers, competent, reassuringly clinical, would quickly check me himself, and it seemed like he was being thorough.  I always felt quite safe and relieved after the doctor's exam.  He never found anything.  Then they'd send me for a mammogram, and that never showed up anything, either.

But I knew that what I was feeling was up under my arm, in the part that never came under the rays of the mammography equipment.

Then my sister got breast cancer, and over the course of a number of conversations, I somehow learned that the doctor had found her cancer, her lump, and it was a tiny slippery thing that moved back and forth and was easy to miss.  Her mammogram had missed it.

On October 21, one day before I had a scheduled doctor's appointment, I was bathing and washing my armpits.  Once again, I thought I felt something.  This time, I somehow had more guts than usual.  I put a finger down firmly to trap it from one side and came at it from the other side.  I caught it.  It was there, a lump, a bump.  A specific thing.  After I almost fainted and then recovered myself, I decided it was good that I already had an appointment scheduled for the next day.

The doctor sent me for a diagnostic ultrasound, and from there they sent me for a core biopsy, which I had Thursday afternoon.

Core biopsy.  You go in, and they find the lump again with the ultrasound (actually, they were looking at two lumps), and they mark your skin with a pen to show where stuff is.  Then they get you all ready for the procedure.

You're already lying on your back with rolled towels propping you in such a way that your breast is at the top, the apex of your being.  They frame the breast with pieces of blue cloth, like a draping, but somehow different.  It lies there, a poor, crumpled pile of shriveled flesh five inches above your head.  A nurse swabs it with betadine, painting it orange which in this case is perfectly appropriate, as it is Halloween.  The betadine is cold and smells disinfecting, somewhat reassuring.  Nothing hurts.

"Now you will meet the doctor!" they tell you cheerfully, and in he comes to the sight of your orange breast lolling above your head in pitiful anticipation.  He has dark hair, slightly rumpled, and dark eyes, slightly owl-like.  You don't remember his name but that's ok because he surely doesn't remember yours.

They go to work on you, and you are glad that you cannot see their instruments.  Needles are the theme.  As I gather, there are needles to inject lidocaine to numb you, and then a hollow needle that goes in, with the ultrasound guiding it, to rest snug against the lump inside your breast.  When that needle is placed perfectly, they say, "Now you will hear a snap, but you should not feel anything uncomfortable." I don't know what they do then, but my impression is that they pull some sort of trigger that shoots some sort of sample-gathering needle down through the hollow needle and smack into the lump where it obtains the necessary cell sample.

During all the sticking and imaging and prodding, I closed my eyes and prayed and thought about God.  I recited Psalm 23, lingering on, "He restores my soul," and, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."

I quoted Joshua 1:9 to myself, "Be strong and of a good courage.  Be ye not afraid, neither be thou dismayed.  For the Lord thy God is with thee, withersoever thou goest."  I like it in King James.

I remembered 1 Peter 5:7, "Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."  I reminded myself of Psalm 145, and even though I couldn't remember the exact verse, I knew that it says God is good and full of lovingkindness and He has compassion on all He has made.  I thought about the caring, compassionate, faithful nature of God.  I couldn't think of any more specifically comforting verses, so I just started searching my memory banks for any random verses.

I thought of Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."  I thought of God as the Almighty Creator who cares for me, and, my eyes still shut, I smiled.  Then I realized that all these people could see my face, and I wondered how weird they must think me, smiling away silently with my eyes closed.  I decided I didn't care.

They got ready for the first snap.  "In just a moment, you will hear the first snap," they told me, pulling me out of my spiritual reverie.

Snap went the equipment.  I felt it.  My body convulsed involuntarily, and an explosion of pain spread all the way to the sternum side of my breast, then began to grow and expand.  I had not been prepared for such intense pain.  By the grace of God, I responded calmly.  "That hurt,"  I told them. "It hurts, actually, quite a lot."  I lay still and tried to breathe, but the memory of being 13 and walking across Sorenson Park in exploding breast pain came flooding back to me, too real and close.

They scrambled to stick me full of more lidocaine.  I did not complain.  The second snap, in the same lump, was much less painful, and the three snaps in the other lump were painless.

They injected metal markers into the lumps, cleaned me up and sent me for a baseline mammogram.

Since the lumps had never before appeared on a mammogram, it was interesting trying to get a mammogram to pick them up now with their shiny new markers.  The professionals had promised a gentle mammo, but I really had to contort in order for the technician to get the images she needed from my armpit.

Finally it was over, and they bandaged me up and sent me off with an ice-pack in my bra.

They have asked numerous times if I have questions.  What question is there to have before the results come in?  Percentages?  I figure the percentages are meaningless.  I am me, and either I am clean, or I am cancerous.  It makes no difference what happens to other people... I mean, what?  Would you expect them to say, "The chances are about 10% that you will have cancer.  We did 14 people today, and we already found 2, so you are probably good to go."  I just don't think that's the way it works.

I'm a little concerned about the pain.  I don't think that was "normal."  Also, my sister just had breast cancer, so there may be a genetic predisposition.  And I have lupus, and 30-33% of people with lupus develop cancer, so I could scare myself silly thinking about this.

On the other hand, this lump is very different from my sister's.  They never even biopsied hers; they did immediate surgery to take hers out because it was something they knew they needed to take out.   I am pretty sure that I've had mine for years and years, that it is not new, and that it has merely gone undetected for decades... undetected and not growing.  Also, a number of women have shared with me that they had similar biopsies done and that theirs turned out to be nothing.

It is in God's hands.  We will find out tomorrow.