This past week I have been living as if I might possibly have breast cancer. To make a long story short, I had tests last week, and returned today for more recommended imaging… and then an additional ultrasound as a result of those tests.
I cannot decide if I was scared.
Outwardly, I told no one but my husband, one of best friends/clients, Pete, who is 83 and went through an ordeal with it herself at the same time she was losing her 92- year- old husband to leukemia. We walked through that together a couple of years ago.
Going about my life, you would never know this concern was hiding in my brain. The only outward show was the result of constant processing of priorities and reactions. Making the most of a summer day and going for an extra- long bike ride, photo-journaling along the way. Making the peach cobbler for my family that I’d been only contemplating. Spending extra time hanging out with my husband and saying “yes” to a spontaneous lunch at a German food truck instead of “no, I need to study.” Writing a poem called “Disquietude” and posting it on here a few days back. Eating whatever I want. Having a conversation with a young, beginning personal trainer/colleague about dieting and nutrition and telling her to not let those things be an obsession in her life. Balance, balance, balance. Enjoy things. Don’t feel guilty.
These were all (and many more) outward manifestations of my acceptance, ahead of time, that breast cancer could be a reality for me. I mean, why not? Why would I NOT be a statistic?Nobody ever is ready or feels like these things will happen to them. Why should I be immune?
It was for this reason that I felt acceptance would be my only recourse.
I have walked alongside two dear friends who went through chemotherapy and breast re-construction. I know the psychological toll, the physical toll, the worries, the discomfort, the tears, and the self-image challenges of losing hair and eyebrows, eyelashes and a breast. I have sat with my friend while she had the poison of chemotherapy chemicals hooked up to the port inserted in her chest. I have seen her scars. I personal trained her, I stretched her, I listened to her heart-wrenching cries and struggles.
In other words, I sort of knew what I would be in for.
My 83 year old friend told me yesterday that she was never afraid of having cancer. She said she told herself, “just do what the doctor says. Control what you can control.” Her words soothed my concerned (was I scared?) spirit. I knew that if there was a tumor growing in my body, I would not walk this road alone.
My husband was outwardly much more worried than I was. He insisted on me changing my appointment time for today to be earlier so he could attend with me before his drive to Nebraska. His 30th high school reunion is this weekend, you see, and I’m driving up on Friday. It would not be much of a celebration if we were dealt a big medical blow. And he didn’t want me to get bad news all by myself.
I listened to Simon and Garfunkel both ways in the car; I’ve had them in my CD player for a solid two weeks now, an anthology of several CDs, because of the soothing familiarity of their beautiful voices and synergy. Listening to their harmony during my disharmonious time helped. The lyrics in “The Sound of Silence” struck me though; “silence like a cancer grows…” I had never noticed those words as much as I did on my way home after the appointment. They leapt out at me. I tend to process things in silence, and on my own. It made me stop and think… I can be rather too stoic and reasonable at times. I hate that.
Well, as it turns out I just have some extra thick tissue that was presenting itself as a possible problem and all is well.
I didn’t unleash any tears until I reached my driveway. Relief.
Yes. I think I was scared.