He said if he had a choice of tumors, this is the one he would want.

“Oh really?” I said, “Well then, can I give you mine?”

The radiologist doing the biopsy chuckled. When I asked him if it was going to be hard to reach the tumor since it was so near my spinal cord, he chuckled again.

“Honey, I could stand you across the room and throw a dart at it and hit it,” he said.

I burst out laughing. Fortunately, he had a sense of humor. Unfortunately, it also meant the tumor was the size of a potato.

The doctor clearly loved his work, and his energy was infectious. He explained that in this procedure, a “core sample” would be taken in order to determine the type of Lymphoma present.  Animated, he showed me the cat scan on the computer screen, and in detail explained what all the colorful images meant. When I asked him what the tumor was made of, he said it was a number of lymph nodes that had grown together with a kind of connective tissue.  I felt like a student that had stumbled upon an unknown topic that was immediately beguiling.

“Let’s measure it,” he said brightly.

As he measured the largest mass (2.5″ x 5″), he also pointed out all the other radish-sized lymph nodes that were enlarged and well on their way to becoming more tumors.

Huh.  This would all be very interesting, I thought, if it weren’t happening to me.

During the procedure, which required only a local, a few minutes had passed before I realized that I had begun to hum. I knew all the words to the song that popped into my head, and ever so softly, I began singing it to myself.  I found the praise song to be very comforting, and I liked how it flew in the face of Dire Straights, the uninvited guest who had so rudely taken up residence in my life.

I noticed slight movement in the room.  Perhaps a nurse had cocked her head… or exchanged glances were made. Then I thought… maybe it’s kinda odd for them to hear a little tune coming from someone in my position.  A cancer patient growing a veritable vegetable patch of tumors lying face down on a table with a sharp instrument, very possibly a dart, sticking out of her back.  Singing.  And then that idea made me start giggling.  So then I was singing and giggling.

I always wondered why they never mentioned it.  Perhaps it was because they knew something I did not.  I would need these moments of humor. And sure enough, it didn’t take long before the pain kicked in.  Even so, the events of the day tickled my funny bone, and I still laughed, and winced, out loud.

* * * * *

Cancer cannot halt the humming.  Cancer cannot hold back the giggling.  Over time, I would learn many interesting things about cancer and the human body, and come to better understand what was going on inside me.  In more ways than one.  Most importantly, I would come to learn the many things that cancer could not do.

Yes, there would be procedures, and yes, there would be pain.  But there would also be choices.

One of them would be singing.


All portions of the blog are ©Lynnea Washburn.  All rights reserved.


6 Responses

  1. What was the praise song?

  2. Shout to the Lord

  3. Lynnea,
    These are so beautifully written. Thank you so much for sharing. Who do you want to play you in the movie?

  4. Lynne These entries are so completely you. And so wonderful. Even though you’re talking about cancer. Though really I think you’re talking about life. Your spirit shines through so well.

  5. Thank you, Meg. Yes, I am really talking about what I learned in my experience as how it might apply to life in general. These life gems are the part of the bounty of the victory. So glad it’s coming through.

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