These were the words spoken by Dr. Viscusi when Theresa met with her. The pathology report was still inconclusive due to the sample size and was still saying the lump was not breast cancer. Due to this, Dr. Viscusi decided to remove the lump and margins around it, while not removing any lymph nodes that are normal in a lumpectomy.
This surgery took place while I was away. My diaconate class was singing Vespers when I received a text message that the surgery went good and the doctor was confident she had good margins around the tumor. This was sent off for further pathology and hopefully for a good understanding of what it was. I flew back to Tucson on June 27th. Theresa had a follow up appointment with Dr. Viscusi in early July and the pathology report was expected to be completed. Again, the waiting game began.
Due in large part to Theresa’s comments about not canceling my trip, I was set to leave on the evening of June 13. We had a meeting with our parish finance council that morning and we ended up telling the council members about the diagnosis.
Our parish priest, Fr. Rankin, gave Theresa the anointing of the sick and had these words to say: “Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also, do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?”
These words, spoken to Juan Diego, by the Holy Theotokos under the name of Our Lady of Guadalupe, gave me some measure of comfort in leaving for two weeks.
With that, I was off to Pittsburgh and Theresa was off to see Dr. Viscusi.
I was set to leave for Pittsburgh for 2 weeks beginning on June 13th to begin schooling for the Byzantine Catholic Diaconate. There was a scheduled appointment with the OB/GYN to review the results of the biopsy. This appointment took place a few days before I left for Pittsburgh.
When the Doctor came in, he asked if Theresa had talked to anyone yet. When she said no, he said that the results he had were preliminary but that the lump appeared to be a sarcoma, not a breast cancer. He threw out a few things, including a blue cell sarcoma. The Doctor said that pathology was still trying to pin down what it was and that the final diagnosis might change. However, he was confident that is was cancer.
He suggested seeing a breast surgeon to perform a lumpectomy. He put forward a few names, one of which was Dr. Rebecca Viscusi. She was on our insurance and we decided to go with her.
We left the office and went to Manuel’s restaurant to get something to eat. Neither one of us said much, as the shock of hearing those words still hung in the air. Theresa finally said, “I don’t want you to cancel your Pittsburgh trip. I want you to go.” That was one of the hardest things to hear and I didn’t know if I was going to go or not.