Waiting. Since August 5 I’ve been waiting. Waiting for the mammogram results. Waiting for the ultrasound and the second mammogram. Waiting for the biopsy. Waiting for the biopsy results. Waiting for the surgery. Waiting to heal. Waiting for the surgery results. Waiting to meet with my oncologist. After that, I’ll wait for another surgery (potentially) or radiation (most likely) or chemotherapy (I hope not). Then I’ll wait for the results from the surgery and from any treatment I begin, every day not knowing if it’s getting smaller or bigger.
Dr. B. and his staff know I don’t do well with waiting. After I saw the results of the sentinel node biopsy last week and called to find out what it meant, Nurse Becky moved my appointment up from today to last Friday. Then Friday morning she called to let me know there’d been a cancellation half an hour before my appointment. “I thought of you immediately,” she said. Did I want it?
Yes, yes I certainly did.
The good news is that my breast is c-free. That bad news is that c was present in the sentinel node. It’s uncertain if it’s spread further. Tomorrow I meet with Dr. S., my oncologist, to figure out what’s next. One of the first things that Dr. B. said to me was that I did NOT make the wrong decision by choosing a lumpectomy after a mastectomy. I had wondered, of course. Said to Jim shortly after seeing the chart that maybe I should have gotten it lopped off.
I shouldn’t have. Even if I had gotten the whole kit and kaboodle removed the lymph nodes would still be there, and that’s where they discovered the interloper had found another home. Hiding. Burrowing. Spreading? We don’t know. I have to wait to find out.
The cumulative stress is starting to get to me. On its own the uncertainty and fear would be enough to make my generally sunny disposition cloud over. It’s compounded by the stress of COVID and my fear for my country. Plus I have some pain – not much, but some – at the site of the lumpectomy and biopsy and I’m unable to do the things I want to do. I had begun working out with my TRX system. Can’t do that for awhile. I’m finally able to go for walks now, but we can’t go on the Prairie Trail because too many runners and cyclists don’t wear masks and I am now an immunocompromised person. I can’t go the grocery store for the same reason (I could, but Jim won’t have it). Instead, I have to wait until my body heals so that I can build its strength, and I have to wait until I can put away the iron skillet because right now even that is too heavy.
Are you getting depressed reading this? I am. I’m also done with it. I’m not going to feel this way.
That’s why I write. This is what I do. I get out all the crap, all the anger, all the fear, all the frustration, and then I move on. Well, not all of it. Those emotions have been building up and the reason for them is still there, so I expect this angst to return. But that’s OK, because I know how to cope with it, with all of it. I know what I need to do. My fingers are spigots and I need to spit out everything I’m feeling. I can’t hold it in. To do so is to invite implosion.
I said to a friend the other day that I’m beginning to feel like this is, that “c” may be, a blessing. That’s a thought I’ll revisit another time, because today I’m struggling with that idea, although there is so very much for which I’m grateful. The outpouring of love and support I’ve received is beyond anything I would have imagined (if I’d ever imagined I’d be so desperately in need of it, which I hadn’t). The kindness, the absolute and unconditional abundance of kindness has given me so much hope. It’s been proof positive of the goodness of people, proof positive that my optimism is warranted. When too many fail to hide their evil thoughts and it seems that civility and kindness is disappearing, to be the recipient of so many active displays of love is a gift. And I hope that everyone who has interacted is seeing the kindness of others and is also uplifted.
One thing I don’t have to wait for is that love, that kindness, that support. When I share my struggles and hopes and immediately see words of encouragement, I feel such gratitude. It’s the best possible form of instant gratification.
Waiting is hard. Waiting sucks. But I do know I’ll learn more tomorrow, and we’ll take the next step, whatever that is.
Subscribe to be notified of new posts: