I have a lump. It isn't huge. But it is most definitely there. And it has been there for some time. I guess not too long, but a good two months or so. When I first noticed it, I told myself it had probably always been there and I had just never paid attention. But as convincing as I can be, even I didn't buy that. So I made an appointment and went to the doctor. She wasn't concerned. Therefore, neither was I.

This time, my doctor looked a little more concernedTwo weeks ago I had another doctor's appointment. I didn't even bring up the lump. But my doctor did. She wanted to know if it was still there. I hadn't checked. It was. This time she looked a little more concerned. She suggested I make an appointment for an ultrasound. That appointment is for tomorrow.

I haven't told any of my friends or family. My husband knows, and wants to come to the appointment, but I would prefer that he not. It's not that I wouldn't want him with me, as he is a great comfort, but there is something about having him come that makes it more worrisome, more real that there is the possibility that there could be a problem. If no one knows, then no one can care, no one can be concerned, and somehow it makes me feel that it minimizes the chance that I could, G‑d forbid, be told that this lump is not as innocent as I would like to believe.

I wouldn't have thought that I was concerned at all, actually, until I chose to write this article. And even as I write, I have no idea if I am going to bother saving it, let alone if I would consider posting it. But as the writer E. M. Forester once remarked, "I do not know what I think until I see what I write…" I am starting to discover that I really am the slightest bit worried, the slightest bit concerned, the slightest bit nervous.

I guess what is most overwhelming to me is that I am presently in that naïve state of reality that I imagine every woman with a lump felt the night before her ultrasound. Every woman who was told she had breast cancer also started with a lump. Just a lump. Then again, maybe not. Maybe some women were incredibly alarmed, some might have been panicked. But I wonder if that helps? Does it accomplish anything? If, G‑d forbid, I find out tomorrow that I am at risk for breast cancer, does worrying about it today do anything to reduce what I could potentially face tomorrow? If anything, doesn't worrying about it today just take away one more day of living without that fear, without that reality?

I very much believe in the power of prayer. I believe that having others pray for me and praying for myself brings blessing and peace. But I also know that speaking about something gives it a realness that is currently premature. Telling people about a possibility of something that I hope and pray is really nothing will bring about fear and concern that I hope is completely unnecessary. If I tell people tonight that I am worried, they too will be worried. They too will be anxious.

I am presently in that naïve state of realityThen I will need to tell everyone tomorrow that there is nothing to be concerned about (G‑d willing!). But what if I forget to tell someone, and what if for yet another day they carry around that fear that they needn't have?

Even worse, perhaps, is the fear that if there is a problem, am I really ready to share that with people? I imagine I would need time to come to terms with it myself, to discuss it with my husband, before I would want others knowing and speaking to me about it. If I tell people now that I have this test tomorrow, regardless of the result, I am responsible for answering to them about it tomorrow. And those who love me will probably be more worried about me than I am about myself.

So I sit here, wondering if I am in a state of denial because I am afraid of thinking about what this lump actually is, or if I am really being responsible and courageous and simply doing what is right by having what is most likely nothing checked out.

And I must tell you that at this moment in time, I am simply so grateful that I am a Jewish woman. I have a confidant, Someone I can speak to, Someone I can share my fears and insecurities with and Someone who I don't need to call back tomorrow for He already knows whatever news I will be receiving. Just knowing that He knows, and that regardless of what it is, He is there for me, is already reassuring.

Tomorrow, at 1:45 pm, I will be going to have this ultrasound, alone. But I know that I am never truly alone. I will bring with me my siddur, my prayer book, and I will bring my Psalms, and as I wait, I will speak to the One who always listens. I may not always like or agree or even be able to accept what lies in store for me. But I know it is not random, and whatever it is, I know I will have to find the strength to deal with it.

So I straddle these two realities, wondering which side I will end up on. Will I be the fortunate one who leaves and drives carpool tomorrow after finding out that I had some clumpy tissue? Will I be told that it truly isn't a lump, it is just the way my body is designed? Will I even be notified that most likely I have had this for years and never paid attention to it before? I hope so.

I feel blessed to have this time to reflect and to ponder my lifeBut I know that if I was 100% sure that one of these would be the response, I wouldn't be bothering with the test. I am going because there is that chance, however small, that the news I get might be very, very different.

And so I spend tonight in silent prayer, as I will tomorrow, until I know what the outcome really is. And along with the prayer, I hold onto the Chassidic belief, tracht gut vet zain gut, "think good and it will be good," and remind myself that my thoughts have real power and can help change reality. And as crazy as it sounds, I feel blessed to have this time to reflect, and to ponder my life and how wonderful it is and how much I have to be grateful for, since I know that there is the chance that everything, I mean everything, could change based on that ultrasound result. I hope tomorrow is as uneventful as today was. But if it is, it will still be different. For unlike so many other days that pass, I will most definitely recognize the incredible blessing in the ordinary.

Postscript: While I had hoped to write that the lump was absolutely nothing and that I ended up driving afternoon carpool, it wasn’t so simple. Ironically, the lump I thought I had truly was nothing. But during the ultrasound, they miraculously scanned another area where they did discover a mass. I have already been back for the biopsy and am waiting for the pathology report, but either way the doctor wants it completely removed. Fortunately, very fortunately, he is optimistic that the mass is benign.

I am already scheduled for my next appointment and mammogram. How grateful I am that I went for that ultrasound. It never even occurred to me that there was the possibility of another problem, something I had overlooked altogether. But I guess when we truly open ourselves up and are willing to look within and explore potential problems, both physical, emotional and spiritual, the possibility of those hidden issues are finally able to be revealed, thus granting us the opportunity to finally care for them! Will keep you posted…

Update: I was fortunate to have a wonderful surgeon who removed the lump through a process called Visica which is a treatment where rather than cutting it out, the mass is frozen and then disintegrates in the body. Since my mass was fortunately benign (though quite large) this was the least intrusive way of dealing with it, and I was in and out of of the office within an hour. Since then I have had two more ultrasounds and in the last one there was no more sign that the mass ever existed! I am now scheduled for my yearly routine mammogram and pray that its results are completely normal...