It appears, at least to the magnetic resonance imager, that I have a little more cancer in September than I did in August. So, I had a triple biopsy last week and they postponed my surgery until we have a better idea about how much to take out.
By that I mean we spent a marathon 5 hours at the hospital on Friday where they used a big needle to suck approximately 15 tissue samples from three locations while I lay on my side with my left arm cramped up over my head and my right butt cheek completely numb. Biopsyasana.
By like, hour three on the procedure table I had laughed, cried, and was trying out my more esoteric cancer theories on the doctor and ultrasound tech. They were both just lovely, dabbed my eyes with tissue when necessary, and humored my rambling, adrenaline fueled ideas on tooth meridians and energy blocks. We also got to discussing how to improve end of life care (morbid, I know) and how doctors sometimes act like technology-wielding robots and it would be cool to have more of them act like humans more often. Somewhere in there the doctor discovered my first suspicious lymph node, sighed audibly, and said the words I am starting to fear most from her kind: I’m so sorry.
Having verified that she was an actual human, I floated a confessional about my decision to not do radiation last year and the doctor was so kind. She said you know, we over treat thousands of women and you didn’t want to be one of them. You didn’t know if it would come back and hey, now you know. No shame in that.
Man did I need to hear that. The relief. Though I wish it weren’t so, sometimes just having your perspective validated by someone in a white coat (or in her case, a super cute black silk sleeveless little number) is so soothing. It is pure magic to feel as if you’re not alone in how you see things and that your actions, while unconventional and maybe dumb, are understandable.
My judgment clouded by emotional exhaustion and physical discomfort, I lapsed back into Grey’s Anatomy that night (thank you Shonda Rhimes for the multi-episode lessons on addressing racism in the work place in Season 12 and I have found it in my heart to forgive you for endorsing Hillary Clinton).
I awoke the next morning, purified by pain and TV, and felt like a million bucks. Eric and I walked in the forest near his parents house and I was wowed, for the thousandth time, by the pattern and color of vine maple leaves against the sky, the swaying and soaring of the big leaf maple canopy in the breeze. I sampled some early high bush cranberries, feeling that each sour bitter drop of red juice was somehow fortifying me for the days ahead. I held onto the voice of the ultrasound tech hovering above me during the biopsy, her masked face so close I could see the designs in the irises of her eyes: “you’re going to get through this and go one with your life and be fine.”