A flap of flesh. A tiny dotted-line memory, etched skillfully, tucked away in the meandering folds of flesh that drape my collar bone and diligently maintained by a vain 25 year-old. A slumbering tomb, hardly visible to the naked eye unless you know its detail.
I had a blog post ready for last Friday, patting myself on the back for maintaining my challenge both in submitting and maintaining my writing throughout the week. But before I had time to proof it, I ran to the doctor for a semi-routine visit to examine Lumpy, the mass of tissue that has lived in my right breast for the better part of eight years.
“We want to biopsy it. Find out what is in there.”
“Is it cancer?” I blurted out.
A look of surprise rushed over the doctors’ faces, but nothing mattered after what I had spoken. I wasn’t there but body, my mind, flashing back three years….
The moon’s pall flooded the winding cornfields as my friend Nick and I raced down the forgotten road, in his father’s new sports car. I stuck my head out the window, letting the wind entwine my fingertips, wishing I could float off to the heavens. 3 a.m. screamed for random road trips, rages in the dark. Who was I to ignore the—
“Shit!” Nick yelled.
I pulled my head in as the car hit the gravel, an instant fishtail at eighty miles per hour. The headlights illuminated the ditch, as I waited for time to slow down and my life to flash before my eyes. Nothing.
Nothing but the slow sinking feeling that I was going to die.
But I digress. The story doesn’t lie in twisted metal, flashing red lights, or the rush to the emergency room. That was but a snowflake, the first among the thousands that blocked my view as I wandered along, until at the end of the storm: a call in the wee hours of the morning.
That is where out story begins.
“It’s a cancerous tumor. You’ll have to have it removed.”
A tiny cancerous pea slumbering in my thyroid, Gertrude, who had served me well until this time.
The next three months were a doctoral comedy of errors from the first doctor not being able to read my MRI to the surgeon prescribing me the only drug I couldn’t take for my ablation. I have tried now, for the better part of three years, to write about my experience. But the words twist about the room and no matter which order they arrive in the same hallow casing. No words could describe the mixture of fear and agony that came to pass. It is a fire. One has to touch the flame to completely comprehend.
A bevy of harsh truths surfaced: I can no longer survive the zombie apocalypse without pharmaceutical aide. Being radioactive does not give you super powers, but rather just makes you throw up radioactive vomit.
All of this, I could take. But, the knowledge, facing my mortality, at such a young age, realizing that I was not yet ready to die and the lingering fear left behind, that was another story.
As I left the doctor’s office last Friday, I handled the situation, the very slim chance that I had a cancerous growth in me (the doctors had even told me it was most likely benign) with the grace and dignity befitting of a 28 year old woman. I ran home to my mother and father and cried on their couch for three days straight convinced that, like last time, something would be wrong.
The next four days were a haze of doctor visits, work and curling up on the couch, trying to reassure myself that I was in fact being irrational. I failed until Thursday, when I got the results back.
It was benign.
I would usually berate myself for losing a week of life. However, I am working on acceptance and with that comes the knowledge that we are all a collection of imperfect stitches, carefully but tenuously sutured up and sometimes, we rip at the seams.
Now patched back up, I dust myself up and prepare to start over again.
phew … taken singly, zombies are slow, idiotic, and relatively easy to kill. so even if you weren’t 100% i’m pretty sure you could still take them. x tony
thank you for sharing… well written and glad it all went well!
Thanks for this. Love the witty comment about the apocalypse. I’m glad you’re okay!!
if cancer isn’t experience enough in its dark self, what it does to the mind periodically is just not fair.
Even benign tumors can stress a person. Get well soon!
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Having been where you were, I think that you wrote about it with much grace and dignity. It definitely changes a person’s perspective. I am so happy for you that it was benign. Happy days.:)
What angers me to my very core is that something man-made is responsible for all of this. For all of this sickening, radioactive, tissue spawning nightmare crap! WE did this. Or, rather, some member/s of our species did this to the planet. And, people like you and many I encounter–and a few family members–suffer for it. [Now, I know you said it was benign, but bear with me for the moment.] For human stupidity. Now, the whole species if not the planet is paying for human stupidity in the pursuit of cracking the code on life and power. Not even human doctors can be expected to fix everything or get it right. They’re still human! It’s the planet of the apes, for sure. You were lucky this time.
And, so what if you threw a hissy fit for a week?:)
Glad it was benign. You have a great way with words, I enjoyed reading this, even if I was concerned and literally sitting on the edge of my seat towards the end, wondering as you did if the lump was something serious.
I went through the same up and down trauma two years ago this October; two spots of cancer in the breast. I had them removed, radiation, medicine, and I’m still here, running around like crazy, trying to stuff 10 lbs. into a 5 lb. bag. That’s what like is about. We scream, we cry, we laugh, and we get on with out lives. That’s the best we can do. Thank you for the great article.
so very true!
Excellent post. I especially loved the sound of this line: “However, I am working on acceptance and with that comes the knowledge that we are all a collection of imperfect stitches, carefully but tenuously sutured up and sometimes, we rip at the seams.”
Don’t beat yourself up for coming “undone” for a week. Really, who wouldn’t? Glad it was benign.
(Thanks for checking out my blog, I appreciate it.)
Glad you are OK.