I found out on March 21, ten days ago. That’s how long it has taken before I could write or sit. Write for my blog, sit on my cushion. It’s strange how rapidly your world contracts when you get a diagnosis that takes you into twenty weeks of chemotherapy and surgery and radiation and far far away from Hong Kong and India where you were just headed to visit with your eldest son and see your Rotary daughter. I was researching transportation to the Taj Mahal, “don’t go on Friday because it’s closed” I read. I wanted to wonder about that amazing love story once more.
And now I have to wonder about another one. A husband who sits for a week, eight hour days of waiting and wondering what could be taking so long, as his tablet runs out of juice and his phone is broken so he can’t even distract himself with business calls and money matters. One minute you are riding to the hospital for a routine diagnostic mammogram to check out a pesky infection that has failed to clear with two rounds of antibiotics and the next, your being poked and rolled and biopsied and stuck and your skin punched until even with your meditation skills you are beginning to say “ouch, yes pinches.” And they say it’s over but it’s not. Not really. It’s really just beginning.
And then you say, “I’m leaving in few days to see my son.” And without batting an eye, she says, “I’ll write you letter that will take care of it.” “What letter? Take care of what?” I want to ask. And then I tell her “Look, I don’t drink much, I don’t even drink soda, I exercise an hour a day, I don’t eat carbs or gluten, sugar or dairy except when I’m cheating, my children have never even seen me eat fast food, I believe in EMFs so I don’t sleep with my cell phone by my bed or keep my phone on my body, my husband, he’s the one with his cell phone in the front pocket, check his breast, cause it surely isn’t mine you’re looking for.” But it is mine and we do decide eventually to cancel my trip.
How do you cancel your trip when your son is upside down and a day ahead. Was the diagnosis really on the 22nd then? A Saturday in Hong Kong. I hope so because technically that gives me an extra day of innocence and health. A bright, sunny holiday, with a big party ahead, watching 7 minute rugby matches and cheering for the team that’s winning. Cheering for another victory and drinking to that too? I want to, do that, I mean. Cheer for a victory. But now my surgeon, is tearing up and telling me maybe I should have a drink or two since I’m under all this stress and I’m still thinking, “What is she talking about? She’s the one that looks stressed, I’m going to Hong Kong.” And it’s back down to the Ultrasound suite for a guided biopsy and two fellows that are still telling me that if antibiotics worked then maybe there is a chance that it is infectious but now I’m thinking of the doctor upstairs that sent me downstairs with tears in her eyes, not believing anything but the report which is coming on Monday or Tuesday. Or Wednesday. And the Internet did not help one bit. Don’t google this illness unless you want the pants scared off you. I did look at the date the data was collected and noticed that 2008 meant a cohort of 2004-2006 and that I told myself is at least a decade away. Hoping that I would live that long, a decade at least. That I could be a statistic that fell to the longer side of the graph I was staring at on my computer screen.
I want to go to Hong Kong.