April 21, 2011

best and worst birthday week.

Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry 
     On Monday, April 11, 2011, I went to my doctor to get a lump in my breast checked out that I had found at least a year ago. I had waited that long because I was hoping it wasn’t something to worry about and I promised myself that I would keep checking on it to see if it changed at all until I finally decided to tell someone. Anyway, the doctor definitely felt what I had been feeling and told me it was non-cancerous, (benign) but it was one of two things: a cyst (fluid-filled) or a fibro-adenoma (a mass). She explained that if it was a cyst, I could just leave it alone if I wanted to; however, if it was a mass, I would more than likely have to get it removed. Because of this dilemma, she told me I needed to get an ultra-sound to find out for sure.

     On Friday, April 15, 2011, (my 20th Birthday) my mom, dad, Jason, and I were all together when I went to Beaumont Hospital to get my ultra-sound. We were planning to go from there to celebrate my birthday. Inside the center, I was pretty nervous and I felt too young to be there. I watched the technician take pictures of what she found inside my breast and although it probably wasn’t the best time to, I thought it was pretty cool. I think I went in there with too much confidence that I had nothing to worry about because the doctor told me and my mom the opposite of what we wanted to hear. Dr. Jason (ironic huh?) explained to me that it was definitely a mass that I had found and gave me two options: 1) I could get it biopsied that day if I wanted to be sure it was what it was and most likely have to get it removed, or 2) Get it removed without the biopsy. Well, I obviously did not like either of those options (neither did my mom). Dr. Jason’s biggest concern after knowing my life story (thank you mom) was that when I started birth control before I get married, that this mass would grow because of the estrogen. My mom asked the doctor a million questions before I finally said, "It sounds like I’m going to have to get it out eventually, so we might as well get it over with." And that was that.

     We left the office and waited for dad and Jason to pull around with the car to pick us up. I felt really bad because it looked like they had been having a great conversation and when mom and I got into the car we were both kind of sassy and speechless until I started bawling. It was uncontrollable. My mom asked my dad to pull over and she started to explain what the doctor said, until I interrupted and cut to the chase and told them what needed to happen. Jason held me and wiped my tears while all I kept thinking to myself was, "Happy Birthday to me." I was asked multiple times if I wanted to just go home until that night for my birthday. I knew how much Jason wanted to see Detroit while he was in Michigan, so I said, "No, I’m fine."I cried at least three more times between driving from the hospital, to lunch, and to Detroit. I had the biggest support system in that little car, which often makes me cry even more knowing how blessed I am.
Spirit of Detroit
     Of course I have to tell you about my birthday, but I promise by the end of this entry, you will know the final result. There isn’t a whole lot you can do in Detroit, especially now, so we kind of just took a drive downtown and saw some well known things from Comerica Park and Fox Theater, to The Spirit of Detroit and the Fist. We also drove to Belle Isle where my parents were married at the yacht club. It doesn’t look like much now, but I’ve seen pictures of it 21 years ago and it looked beautiful.
Detroit Fist
     After Dad’s tour of Detroit, (he used to live around there and that’s why he knows so much about it) we went to the Hard Rock Café for my Birthday Dinner. Jason had never been to one, so I was excited to take him to his first. I was sure to point out Eminem’s sweatpants and durag display, Kid Rock’s guitar, and Madonna’s Dress (those were the few people I recognized; sad, I know). After we ate, my waitress wanted to let everyone in the restaurant know that it was my birthday and made me stand on a chair, on the stage, while everyone shouted a big "Happy Birthday" to me! I also got a fantastic Birthday ice cream sundae that I couldn’t finish because I was so full (I let mom and dad finish it off for me). Jason also got an ice cream for it being his first time to a Hard Rock Café!

     After dinner, Jason and I changed into our fancy clothes before going to the Fisher Theater to see Mamma Mia! I was so excited! I had been waiting for this day since my parents surprised me a few months ago to tell me they got the tickets for me and Jason. We literally had the best seats! We were on the floor, center, not too close, but certainly not too far away. The show itself was amazing! Jason and I absolutely loved it and It was nice to get my mind off of things for awhile during the show, but I can’t pretend that I completely forgot about what was to come. I almost started to cry a number of times, but stopped myself because I didn’t want to ruin a great night.
Yes, those are Eminem's pants
     The next morning, I came downstairs for kind of a surprise intervention. We all sat down at the table and my dad started by saying that they had each thought and prayed about my situation and came to a conclusion that I needed to stay home an extra week so that I could get the surgery taken care of. This was fine except I was supposed to be starting back at school that week and I absolutely hate missing class. Also, I knew for a fact it was going to be hard watching Jason leave while I had to stay behind. So naturally, I cried again. I was really upset. The thought of going through a surgery without Jason by my side killed me. I have never broken a bone or needed surgery, so I was scared out of my mind. Jason reassured me that everything would be fine and that he would take care of my classes for me back at school. I think what scared me the most in my situation was that I have never had a huge trial in my life and now I was going through a couple at a time.

     After I was able to pull myself together, my family and I went to my grandparents house so that Jason could meet my grandma, grandpa, aunt Jennie, and aunt Bernice. They all loved Jason! But honestly, what is not to like. I won’t get all mushy gushy, just know that I am always so proud to show off Jason. Jason also said he really enjoyed talking with them. I guess he just fits in perfectly with my family.
Jason's taking a tour
     Afterword, Jason and I met up with Jamie and Drew to go to the Detroit Institute of the Arts. It was nice to have time to talk to Jamie and catch up. We were able to do this while Jason took his time looking at all of the art. We didn’t mind. I told Jamie about my current situation because the time allowed it and I really wanted to tell someone face-to-face and express my concerns. I also didn’t want to tell the whole world because I was a little uncomfortable talking about it and didn’t think it was anyone’s business until I knew I was going to be okay. The four of us went to dinner at Noodles & Co. in Royal Oak and later went to Drew’s where Nicole and Erica came over and we spent more time talking and watched a movie. Jase and I said our goodbyes and promised to keep in touch.
We had so much fun with Drew and Jamie
     This past week has been tough for me. I cried the night before Jason left and the morning of. I do have to say that my parents were very understanding of the way I was feeling. My mom took me shopping a few times (I spent some birthday money) and she got me a manicure. This past Tuesday, the 19th, I had to go to a consultation with my surgeon so that she knew what I needed to have done and when we could possibly get my surgery scheduled. After many questions and explanations, Dr. Rivers told me and my mom that she was full for this week. This was a pretty big concern of ours because I had just missed a week of school and I needed to start birth control as soon as I could. Dr. Rivers said she would have a talk with her scheduling person to see if they can get me in on Thursday, her operating day, but at the moment it wasn’t looking good. While she was gone, I said a prayer that I could get in on Thursday. My prayer was quickly answered when the scheduling person said they were going to fit me in. Mom and I thanked them both multiple times and went home and waited for Thursday.

     By Wednesday night, I was starting to get more nervous. On the morning of my surgery, I was even more scared. If you know me well enough, you know that I went to the hospital with my make up on and my hair straightened. The nurse took me back to pre-op to get me ready. While I was waiting in my bed, I was getting kind of shaky. I think it was caused by a combination of being cold and scared. All of my nurses were extremely nice. They made me feel really comfortable and as ready for my surgery as I could be. I took a class my senior year of high school where I was able to shadow the different areas of three different hospitals and let me tell you, if that class did not prepare me for my future career, (because I switched majors) it certainly prepared me for this day because I basically knew what to expect. 

     At 8 am Thursday morning after being at the hospital for 1 ½ hours, they gave me an antibiotic and then came the anesthesia (for some reason, that is what I was most afraid of). I remember being wheeled into the operating room, but that’s about it. The procedure took only about 30 minutes, put I was knocked out for about another 40 minutes. It felt like I hadn’t even gone in yet. When I woke up in the recovery room, it was really hard to keep my eyes open and when I moved my eyes far right or far left, everything was moving. I still don’t know what the painting was of on the wall next to me. It was extremely hard to walk because they made me take my contacts out and boy, am I blind without them. I wasn’t experiencing any pain at all. All I knew is that I wanted to sleep and somehow those nurses managed to get this really ugly bra on me. By the way, all of the nurses noticed and complimented my fresh manicure.

     Today is still Thursday and I’ve just been sleeping all day because I still feel kind of dizzy at times. I have a flight back to Idaho tomorrow morning. I’m really excited to see Jason and my friends and I just hope I don’t have any trouble with traveling. I am so grateful for all the wonderful people who contributed to my surgery and for my support system here and at school and that everything went perfectly. Thanks to Brooke, Jason, and Nate who volunteered to go to my classes for me this week. I will never be able to thank you enough. Thanks to Jason for making sure all of my school stuff was taken care of and for calming my nerves. Thanks to those who called my mom to check to see how I was doing. And thanks to those who kept me in their prayers.


Leslie Goldman said...

Danielle, I am glad everything turned out okay. Wow, you've been through quite a bit in one week!! By the way, you are a WONDERFUL writer. The way you write just makes me want to keep reading!
Can't wait to hear more of your adventures soon.

Danielle Garber said...

Thank you so much. And I'm glad you enjoy reading!

Ali Tolman said...

You're so cute! and I'm glad it went okay and i miss you! :)

Danielle Garber said...

I miss you too Ali!