It is three in the morning and I am in my office downstairs, unable to sleep. Everything is spinning in my head since last week’s Friday’s diagnosis, since yesterday’s Friday’s meeting with the surgical oncologist. One week with an ocean gave me some peace to marinate initially in the news. Yesterday pushed my realities further.
A cancer diagnosis has necessarily brought me to a table for one.
It is a table where many before me have sat, including a lot of my friends. It is a place where numbingly scary words are heard, possibilities are discussed, and tears are shed. It is impossible to intelligently process the waves of information. I wish for the prescience to know what I should have asked, afterwards. It is hard to be brave.
During the technical meteor shower at Moores Cancer Center with Dr. Blair, I heard sparkles of good news: small (7 mm), Stage I, 90% cure rate. I heard shards of terror: triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma, aggressive, recurring, probable chemotherapy, possible mastectomy because of complications from having autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis). I only wanted to hear kittens and puppies.
The drip drip drip of waiting is going to continue. The surgeon will be gone next week. I have two medications that have to cease for two weeks before surgery can be done. The earliest likelihood will be in three weeks.
I will have molecular breast imaging just prior to the surgery during which a radioactive dye will be injected to better illuminate the tumor and start a lymph node sky show. Glowing nodes will be removed with the tumor.
I am awake because now I wish I had asked if having a mastectomy would make this all go away.
Whether I like it or not, I am at a table for one. I need to look ahead to Laughter After.