There are only a handful of times every year that I need to wake up from an alarm clock. (Lucky me) It’s mostly for early morning flights. I spend most of these nights half awake, waiting for the alarm, sure that it’s about to go off and yet suddenly surprised when it does.
That’s how I feel right now. Since December of 2011, I have been in that half sleep, waiting for something. And here we are, almost four years later and I finally got that other shoe dropping type call last week from my new doctor, jarring me from sleep. I had had my routine MRI the day before. As routine as, laying face down with your boobs in a vice, shitty music in your ears and noises that I’m imagining compare to a space shuttle takeoff all around you, can be. He told me they saw a 10mm node in my right axilla (street for axillary nodes…which is fancy for armpit nodes) We agreed we weren’t going to worry until there is something to worry about.
So on September the 11th, an already somber day, I walked into my breast imaging center. It’s not at my typical hospital, but it’s the one I go to for all of my imaging. I am a regular.
I saw my usual tech in the hallway, as I walked in on Friday. This felt different from my other ultra-sounds. It was not routine, I was there with purpose. A new woman, Lori, did my scan. It takes the new ones to tell you the things no one says, but you know others were thinking. “I was looking at your original imaging. There was a mess of cancer in your axilla. I have never seen that much cancer in the nodes with such a small tumor in the breast” What can I say, I’m a medical miracle. She checked my right side first. It’s my good side. The side that hadn’t given me any problems, up until now. There it was, plain as day. I stared at the huge black circle in the middle of the screen. Nothing screams cancer like a black circle in the middle of that screen. Lori and I sat quietly. Then she moved over to my left side, the side that has been nothing but trouble. I have had 22 nodes removed on my left side. Hard to believe there are any there to show up at all. And there it is, another large black circle. “Have you been sick, scratched by a cat, just a little common cold?” She asked hopefully.
“Sure, maybe, I don’t think so.” That’s what cancer does to you. It makes you wish for a cold, a cat attack, the bubonic plague.
Lori left the room. I sat alone listening to Journey “Don’t Stop Believing” and gave cancer the finger for giving me yet another song that I won’t be able to stomach hearing again. (I’m that weirdo who cries to Adele’s-Someone like You, in Target to this day) My favorite tech, came in. “It could be many things” she said.
This is a huge improvement from 4 years ago, when she told me there was nothing else it could be. So, my ultrasound guided biopsy today feels different. The one I had four years ago, was not for a diagnosis, it was to gather more intel. Today, they will send it off to a lab and I will sit waiting. I am hoping pathology is not too busy this week, with the Jews being the lion’s share of breast cancer patients and it being the high holidays and all. More likely, I will hear on Monday.
So, send me your positive mojo, your good vibes and I will try to go on like nothing is happening, like I am still sleeping soundly, waiting for my alarm to go off.