I would be lying if I said I wasn't expecting it. For some reason, I feel as if I've been suspecting it for some time, maybe for months. Not that I had any reason to. And not that I've detected anything unusual. Just a little irritation, a slight itchiness, differences that I could have easily brushed off. As if there is some secret layer of knowledge that only your body knows, and whispers to your brain, only to have your brain dismiss it as nonsense.
So when the words "cancer" and "biopsies" came out of the doctor's mouth, I didn't even flinch. I sat on the examination table, nodding along. The doctor's eyes were wide open, and she looked into my eyes intently. She read the lab results slowly, deliberately. And I kept nodding along, my suspicions confirmed. I wonder if I would have been disappointed if the results had been otherwise.
After the biopsies, I dressed myself and waited for a copy of the lab results. I could have waited in the examination room, as they expected me to, but I found myself in the hallway, looking for the nurse, tracking her down, calming prodding her to get what I was waiting for.
Later, as I sat behind the steering wheel, I felt a mild irritation creep in. This pesky news, on top of everything else. Just when I started getting into pilates. Just when I managed to secure some quiet time to myself. Just when I was feeling like my days had gained a sense of order. Then, a random flurry of thoughts. Will people treat me differently? Maybe l'll lose a couple of pounds after all this? Can I keep doing pilates? What does this mean for the holidays?
That evening, after the trick or treating with our kids, I pulled out my laptop and started googling. A 100% survival rate with early detection. Relief.
Throughout the weekend, Jeff kept asking, "How are you doing?"
I found myself saying, "The body does what it does. Not much I can do."
Still, I kept finding a little bubble pop up in the back of my head, as if reassuring me, It's not a big deal, it couldn't have progressed that far, no need for melodrama.
These little changes have a way of creeping in despite yourself.
As I made my children's breakfast this morning, I didn't feel the need to harp on the kids to sit down, to stop screaming at each other, to just eat their breakfast. I found myself sitting down with them to help them with their socks, when I would have normally barked at them to put them on by themselves. That little voice in my head that complains constantly about the mundane tasks of my life kept quiet, and the agitation that had been coursing through my veins for the past few years receded, as if I were a ping pong ball that finally settled into a groove on the roulette wheel.
Today, I'm waiting for the biopsy results. And waiting to make an appointment with the oncologist. And things look a little different.
I want to drink my coffee with half-n-half. I want to reach out to old friends. I want to make new friends. I want to write. I want to read. I want to replace the dead battery on my watch. I want to hug my kids and Jeff - and anyone else who'll hug me back. I want to do my hair. I want to watch random videos on Facebook that make me laugh. And I want to linger even after the small talk.