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April 30, 2007

Putting the Band Back Together

For those of you new to the blog, welcome! For those of you who are old friends and former readers, welcome back! I have decided to return to a form of publication that I have used before as a way to keep friends and family informed about my present journey. This time, however, the subject will be a bit different than it was the last time.

In the way of background for some of you, first I should mention that I had a blog from November 2003 until January 2007 where I wrote about my journey to and through law school as a 40-something mother of three. I enjoyed it mostly because the result of my writing was that I met many people all around the country. Some were other law student parents, some were parents with other jobs, some were not parents but were law students…you get the idea. A few months ago I shut down the blog. I was so busy trying to balance school and family and I felt guilty about not writing; taking the whole thing “off the air” seemed like the best solution. I’ve continued to read the blogs of others in the meantime, but I haven’t had the pressure of having to come up with things to write about myself.

My former blog was completely anonymous…I didn’t list my name or where I went to school or the names of my children or pets or family members. Few of my friends or family members or fellow students knew about the blog. As I heard more and more about bloggers who lost or missed jobs because of their blogs or who got into other kinds of trouble because of things they had written, I became increasingly paranoid about my own web presence. This paranoia made the decision to stop writing that much easier.

And then I found a lump in my breast.

It was one night several weeks ago, and I was lying in bed reading as I do almost every night. I absentmindedly reached down to adjust the neckline of my pajamas which was bothering me, and as I did so my hand brushed across the top of my breast and I felt what seemed like a lump. I felt it again, and again, and again, my mind fiercely denying what my fingers were telling me was there. But it was, very unmistakably, a lump about the size of an almond.

My husband was out of town on a golf trip, so I lay in bed and thought about the implications of this all by myself. I had a hard time believing that it was really there or that I had really felt it, and every awful thought about cancer and mortality ran through my head. It scared me enough that I called my doctor the very next morning, sobbing as I told the receptionist why I wanted to see her as soon as possible.

A few days later she confirmed the presence of an almond-sized lump and sent me to get a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound and gave me the name of surgeon to see. I week later, after the mammogram and ultrasound, I met with a radiologist. He told me that the best thing we could have discovered from the images was that the lump I felt was a cyst. He said it was definitely not a cyst, but the abnormality that appeared on the images was something that he would suggest I see a surgeon about. He said that my choices would probably be to have it biopsied or to have surgery and have it removed.

A week later I finally saw a surgeon who also said that my choices were to have it biopsied or to have it removed. I have chosen to have it removed, since the surgeon also said that even if I just had it biopsied to start he would recommend eventual removal because of the size and location of the lump. I decided to skip the middle step and go right for the removal.

My former blog was all about my rather unique experiences as an older law student with three children. I think I can safely say that this experience makes me even more unique in the law student community. However, I can also safely say that I would never have chosen to have it all work out this way.

As for law school, as many of you know I am in a part-time program and I am exactly half way done. I have two more years left, and I am planning to take an Evidence class this summer. I am still planning to take the class unless we discover something worse than a lump as a result of the surgery.

I have decided to use this blog as a way to keep my family and friends up to date about what’s going on with me rather than sending out frequent e-mails. My hope is that the blog will be short-lived…that this will all turn out to be nothing.