(This post originally appeared on PiedType.com)
It’s now the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. Not to mention most of the time in between.
Cancer. You see, a phone call Thursday confirmed that last Wednesday’s biopsy was positive for grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer. And that’s all I know until I talk to the surgeon at 4 pm tomorrow. Don’t yet know how serious it is, how big, if it’s spread, etc.
But by the time that brief phone call ended, my head was pounding, I could hardly breathe, and I felt like every cell in my body was about to explode. I had almost convinced myself that the biopsy really was just a precaution, and that there was only about a 20% chance they’d find anything. Worse, I had thought doctors only delivered good news on the phone. I was wrong on both counts.
Since then I’ve been researching like crazy and scribbling down dozens of questions. They are focused on exactly what the still-unseen pathology report may say and mean, and what the next steps will be, and when and where. I’ve yet to write down any question about “prognosis” or “the long term.” One step at a time. And right now the next step is just getting through today.
I’m trying to keep my mind occupied with other things. Anything else. I’ve done some laundry. Did a load of dishes even though I still had some clean ones left (highly unusual behavior!). Watched some TV. Played some video games. Watched a movie with my son. Anything to keep from thinking about what has just happened to my life.
I’ve always been a very anxious person, the type who’ll worry about everything — and worry even more if there’s nothing to worry about. So despite the Ativan (for anxiety), I’m having spells of unexpected tears, knots in my stomach, heart in my throat, and steel bands tightening around my chest. Jittery. Impatient. Tired. I try not to think about how long this might go on and tell myself not knowing is the worst part. Except I know knowing could be a lot worse.
Either way, tomorrow will come. And so will whatever comes with it.
If my posts become less frequent for a while, now you’ll know why.