Emily began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20's, and recently released her first book, Yielded in His Hands (eLectio Publishing). She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma while still being able to freelance write. Believing she has been forgiven of much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power. If you would like to connect with Emily or learn more about her book, you can visit her website: www.emilyrosemassey.com
I have been quiet on social media this past month or two, and even quieter on the blog.
Like I shared on IG earlier this month, I have been somewhat silenced by fear. Because of that, I was extremely embarrassed to share much of what was going on in my life and in my heart.
As an encourager and someone who believes she has been given the gift of faith…:
Faith trusts God to work beyond the human capabilities of the people. Believers with this gift encourage others to trust in God in the face of apparently insurmountable odds (1 Cor. 12:9).Lifeway Spiritual Gift Assessment
…I was so ashamed that I would allow fear to grip my heart and consume so much of my mind. Fear and doubt came flooding into my life. I stopped reaching out to Jesus and started to sink.
This all began back in August when I was writing an article on moles and skin cancer for one of my clients (who is a practitioner). He sends me medical articles and I simplify them for the blog on his website and for the newsletter he sends his patients. It is really awesome because I truly enjoy learning more about each health and wellness topic that he sends me. I have always had a passion for learning how to take care of the body God gave me.
Not this time.
Discovering the signs of concerning/cancerous moles should have been informative and helpful for me, but instead the ABCDE’s of screening your moles for melanoma sent me down a spiral of panic and fear.
I immediately, checked the mole on my left hip that I was born with…
A- Asymmetry: a noncancerous mole must be consistent in shape
It was no longer circular like it had been for years!
B- Border: the border of a benign mole should be smooth, not ragged, blurred, or irregular
The edges were not defined at all anymore!
C- Color: noncancerous moles should have a consistent shade without any hint of other colors
There were small black spots in the middle of the mole and a lighter brown on the outside!
D- Diameter: moles that are larger than the eraser of a pencil are more susceptible of becoming cancerous
I placed a pencil over the mole and it went passed the edges of the eraser!
E- Elevation/evolution: if a mole appears elevated, raise, or begins to change shape or color over time, it may be cancerous
Oh no, it felt more raised and looked bigger!
I rushed to the bathroom. The beauty mark on my left cheek also looked different!
Oh my God, this is not good!
I started to hyperventilate and hurriedly called my mom who was diagnosed with skin cancer and had a spot removed on her nose ten years ago. My aunt and my grandpa also had numerous spots on their body with basal and squamous cells. Trips to the dermatologists were normal for them.
I had never been to a dermatologist before and had no idea what office to call. I did not want to wait to be seen. This was an emergency. I could have melanoma- I needed to get in like yesterday!!
Google to the rescue, right?
Sure, Google helped me find a dermatologist with a good rating that was close to me, but over the course of weeks and months (did you know that it takes over a month to get into a dermatologist’s office?!), Google would open the door wide to more panic and more fear.
Every single time I went to the bathroom, I would check that mole and check Google. I would read the same articles over and over again. I found a story about a woman who was in her early 30s and just had a baby and didn’t know she had melanoma. It spread to her lymph nodes (Oh God, my lymph nodes have been hurting on and off again for weeks!), then to her brain and she died. Google also lead me to a story about a baby who began to get moles all over his face- melanoma apparently is a disease that can be passed through the placenta.
Oh God, James has a huge birth mark on the back of his neck! Are those black spots forming in the middle of it? Is that really a large melanoma?! Oh, I don’t know if I can handle losing my baby boy!
Yes, my mind went all over the place, y’all. The thoughts got darker and darker. I was convinced I was going to die of cancer and that the house that we just put a contract on would have to be enjoyed without me and that my sister-in-law would move in to raise my children. Yes, I believed the lie that I only had a few months to live.
It didn’t help that my appointment got rescheduled because the office would be closed that day and the soonest they could reschedule was another month out. I started freaking out and making multiple appointments at other offices. Whoever could get me in the soonest, which wasn’t very promising. I made an appointment with a primary doctor, hoping they would get me a referral. My mom even called a practice in IL for me. She was able to get me an appointment within two weeks.
Would you believe me if I told you that I had to cancel that appointment the morning of because I was vomiting so much that my husband had to come home to take care of the boys?
Yeah, anxiety can do some crazy weird things to our bodies.
If the sleep and emotional issues weren’t enough, I began to feel pain all over my body constantly; I thought I had fibromyalgia. Man, those chiropractor appointments were not helping with the muscle aches and neck tension. I was so exhausted, I thought I had adrenal fatigue- buy more supplements…maybe that will help?
One night I had trouble falling asleep because I couldn’t stop shaking and I was sweating so badly.
Like usual, I turned to Google trying to figure out what these symptoms were pointing to.
Oh my goodness, night sweats are a sign of lymphoma! So is easily bruising…where are all of the massive bruises coming from?!
All of this brought me to tears constantly. I was irritable with my boys over the smallest things. Any time I would think about this mole and all of the other issues I was experiencing, I would crumble. It all utterly consumed my mind for months at this point. I couldn’t talk to my husband about it anymore because he was just so tired of hearing about it and kept telling me that it was probably nothing. I wanted to believe him. I felt out of my mind crazy, you guys.
Then in early November, the day finally came for my appointment with the dermatologist.
As I was driving to my appointment, I just began singing the Bridge to Housefires “Good, Good Father” over and over.
“You are perfect in all of Your ways…to us…”
As I sat in the exam room, in my gown and socks, I felt God’s peace for the first time in many, many weeks. The doctor was so friendly and reassuring. She was confident that the reason my mole was growing was because of the fluctuation of hormones my body has been exposed to for over a year with pregnancy and now nursing. She took a look at it with her microscope and told me she was not alarmed, but would like to remove it for my peace of mind in a month. I felt such a weight lifted and joy flood my heart!
But when I came home, the enemy began to whisper: “But what if they still find something once they send it to the lab?” And “what about all this pain you have had around your lymph nodes and chest?”
For the first time during all of this, I took the thoughts captive and cast them down, bringing them to Jesus.
Then exactly a week later, while I was taking the dog out, my underarms started hurting all of a sudden. I went to rub them and felt this huge lump.
My heart sank. Why would my lymph nodes under my arms be swollen?
Back to Google (not God) for the answers…
…to be continued…