Monday, February 29, 2016

Poor Baby!

Caution, This post has Very Yucky Pictures of Emmalee's mouth, tumor {aka-Molar Baby}, and surgery!!

I mentioned before that we found a tumor in Emmalee's mouth 4 days before Christmas, right?  Well, now you get to hear the whole story.

I was on the computer Monday morning, December 21st, 2015, trying to make a template for the Death Star Nerd Shelf while Madison and Emmalee were in the middle of some sort of sisterly tickle torture.  I was getting totally annoyed with the loud belts of screamy laughter and nearly said something a couple of times.  Luckily I didn't or I think I would have felt even worse when Madison gasped from the other room.  She called me over right away.  

Madison caught sight of the molar baby when Emmalee had her mouth wide open for one of the gut-clenching laughs.  The minute I saw it, my stomach dropped to my knees and a flood of anxiety washed over my heart.  There was no mistaking that bumpy mass in her mouth for any sort of normal canker sore or even swollen gums.  It was thick, red, and looked like a wad of raw hamburger in the back of her mouth.  I had to send her off to play and compose myself for a few minutes.  I was literally frozen in terror.  And only a few moments earlier I was crabby about the noise coming from 2 happy girls.  What a stupid thing to be crabby about. 

I called a local pediatric dentist as soon as I could pull my wits together.  Trying to describe it over the phone was pointless.  The receptionist and the dentist both said they figured it had to be a canker sore, until they saw it.  Even in the office I tried to warn them, "Just be prepared.  It is really wicked looking.  It is a mass, not just a canker."

I didn't think my stomach could fall any further, that is until I saw the horror on the dentist's face.  She poked.  Emmalee had no feeling in the mass.  After a few minutes of the both of them just staring terrified at the lump the dentist apologized, but she didn't know what it was.  We were given a referral form and a phone number for a local oral surgeon and sent on our way.  

Here we were, 3 days before Christmas, I had finally shut my Etsy shop down after 3 months of no sleep and barely functioning as a human being.  We had a list 5 pages long of things to get ready for Christmas and suddenly none of it mattered.  

I begged and pleaded for the Oral Surgeon's office to get us in before January.  After much pleading we were given an appointment the next day.  Luckily, the Oral Surgeon looked at it and was pretty confident he knew what it was.  He grabbed his dental hook and told me if we were lucky, this was a mushrooming type of tumor, meaning, it comes from a small area and kind of pops up, covering a large area like an umbrella, but that area of attachment is very small.  He poked at the mass with his hook and his face lit up.  He said, "Look!  See, when I pull it, it separates from the gums."  He sent us away confident this tumor could be cut out cleanly.  

I was more than a little upset to find out they could not get my Emmers in for surgery before New Years.  We were finally able to get an appointment on New Years Eve, but it just made me sick to think of that "thing" in her mouth, possibly harming my baby girl.  Somehow we had to make it a week before we could get that thing out.  Emmalee was fine.  She was a little shaken up emotionally, but she wasn't in pain or physically affected by the tumor at all.  Me....I was another story.  I bawled the rest of the day out in the garage as I worked on the Nerd Shelf.  I imagined what my life would be like without my baby girl I fought so many years to get pregnant with.  I imagined what it would be like to bury my baby.  I imagined my sweet, so-missed grandma who passed away 5 years ago coming and taking Emmalee by the hand and walking off with her.  It just made me bawl harder.  

I know it sounds crazy, but I guess that is how I deal with hard things.  I immediately think of every possible scenario, what the outcomes could be, how I would feel, how my family would feel, how I might react, and how I know I do not want to react.  I am not a sudden reactor.  You can ask my little sister Kallie.  She makes fun of me all the time because she can't get a reaction out of me no mater how shocking her remarks.  I think it has something to do with growing up in a house where temperaments exploded so unexpectedly.  Reacting only made things worse.  I just wait to see if what I perceive is really how things are before any emotion surfaces.  Inside I am a whirling vortex of anxiety, thought, and panic.  The shell on the outside is staring off as if lost in thought.  

The next week was spent trying to put on a happy face.  We usually LOVE our break between Christmas and New Years.  I bawled alone.  I bawled with Madison.  We just kept consoling Emmalee, promising her the doctor could take that molar baby out and she would be just fine.  Every day of that long week I fought off that sick feeling in my stomach hoping that everything would be OK.  New Years Eve finally came.  Emmalee was nervous, but so excited to get that thing cut out. 

Emmers was so brave.  She took the needle stick with grace and the surgeon was able to work on her without using gas.

I watched as he cut and nipped at the mass.  My stomach flopped when I saw her blood trickle from the first few slashes.  The point I had to look away was when he started scraping at the bone trying to get every last piece.  The area of attachment was about 1/3 the area that the tumor covered.  It was great that the wound didn't cover as much mouth as the mass, but it was still a large area so they wheeled in the laser.  Emmalee LOVES to tell people that she had lasers in her mouth.  They used the laser like a pen, drawing over the wound to cauterize or seal the area.  

About 5 minutes later, we were done.  The molar baby was out.

It was packaged up and sent off to pathology.  2 weeks would be our wait.

Emmalee thought it was her birthday when they brought her her very own carton of ice cream.  She was so excited and the assistant to the surgeon thought she was so brave, Emmers got a second carton to take home.  

It was during this 2 week wait that I finally got into the doctor for my own issues.  I had been bleeding for weeks, passing clots every couple days.  That week of vacation I started passing clots every day.  In August I had a DNC for the same thing, the doctor hoping it would help.  At that point my doctor was convinced I had uterine cancer.  I had my own biopsy sent off, so for about a week the SewCakeMaker family was waiting for 2 oncology reports.

As for Emmalee, her lump came back benign.  It was such a relief, I can't even express it.  Her diagnosis was pyogenic granuloma.  So apparently these tumors are common for children, but on their neck or arms.  The only time they are ever found in the mouth is in pregnant women.  The sources I found said that pyogenic granulomas are always benign, unless they are misdiagnosed and are actually a very rare form of cancer.  So, that week between Christmas and New Years we knew it was benign, unless it was misdiagnosed.  Luckily, thank the Good Lord in Heaven, the molar baby was benign and Emmalee hasn't had to think about it again.  

A week after getting Emmalee's results, I went in to have my unplanned hysterectomy and tried to find the least bit of excitement for this new, off to a terrible start, New Year.

2016, I was full of terror as I watched the ball drop on New Years Eve.  I know now, just as I knew then, that you are not going to be an easy year or very nice to me and my family.  Luckily, on New Years Day I saw this posted on my FB friend's wall and found direction in it's message...

After the encouraging words from this man whom I love with my whole heart, I resolve to find the bright side, to REMEMBER there IS a bright side.  I re-plant my feet on faith-formed sod.  

2015 was hard.  It taxed me in ways I never would have volunteered for, but if I focus on the negative things, I would totally miss the miracles that happened.  We were SO BLESSED last year.  When I thought about this quote, all at once I was FLOODED with remembrance of the miracles and tender mercies of my Father in Heaven that accompanied every single day.  This molar baby thing was just one more moment that ended up being a blessing dressed as despair.  Even if Emmalee's tumor had not ended up benign, I feel like this experience would have been a blessing.  I was able to take a few days, after months of being a terrible mom, working like a dog just to keep my head above water, but unable to be alive and interactive with my kids.  I had those days to examine my life, my role as a mother, my child, how life would be with one less baby to hold at night.  I had just a glimpse of what so many mothers are facing right now, their baby with a terminal illness.  How would it be to find out your baby had, not a benign tumor, but a real, cancerous, parasitic mass slowly consuming the life of their little one.  I am thankful for that glimpse.  I don't think I could have gained the compassion for those struggling families without having gone through this experience.

So, forward we will trod, through this year that is sure to bring heaps of more troubles dripping with unimaginable blessings and insight into God's plan for all of us.  I will take it.  I will do my best to find the good.  I will Act, and not be acted upon.  After all, I am the only one who controls how I react to situations I find myself in.  I am the only one who can open my eyes to see the sunrise after the long, cold night.

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