in-fucking-situ (at least I hope… the word micro-invasion is hanging out there too).
A cause for celebration. Really. They say.
But holy fucking shit, calling an oncologist for an appointment for yourself is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, Not even someone who could use a strong life lesson or a swift kick in the butt.
You get that call. The one that gives you the pathology report and tells you next steps and it is so heavy and burdened that the air gets thick and it is almost impossible to breathe. Partly, I wonder in retrospect, if is so that you don’t miss a word about what you are being told.
The call to the overly cheerful oncology office to book your appointment.
The calls to those you love. Your husband, your mother. You aunt.
Contemplating how to make the calls to your other loved ones; your father, your cousins, your friends.
Return calls. the news spreads. You get calls from your brother, A message from a professor from when you were back in medical school (who is now a close colleague to your mother).
Pathology reports faxed. scanned. emailed.
Decisions to be made,
What do you tell your young children so they can navigate the stress they know you are feeling without giving them scary words that will make things worse.
What do you tell your friends. How do you tell your friends. Do you tell your friends? It is easier to tell strangers.
How do you navigate not knowing what the oncologist will say without Googleing yourself sick.
And again, priorities re-mulled.
Fighting the tendency to blame yourself.
Trying to be strong because you need to be for others, because the last thing you need is to take care of someone else when this is about you (and not them).
Trying not to listen too closely.
Wondering if you will lose friends. Knowing you will (I’ve worked in cancer, it happens too often) and wondering who it will be.
Wondering what do you do. Do you burden friends with the news?
Having to deal with the part of myself that feels socially awkward and introverted.
Remembering to breathe.
Philip K Dick said that cancer was “the process of creation gone wild…”.
Thoughts of prudence and of recklessness.
The mantra of thinking “it could be worse” repeatedly. intermittently. nauseatingly.