I left you in the hallway. (Sorry 'bout that.) I've been called into the hallway. I'm still wearing my magenta half robe thing. I've given up on fastening it. I've got it crossed over with the ends sort of pinned under my arms. I've got the Cancer horoscope in my pocket where never again will it alarm another wildly overactive superstitious imagination. I'm following a woman in pink, thinking, Shouldn't I go get P?
We get to the room. Lots of chairs around the edges. She says, it's good news and I say: AREYOUSURE? Because by this point I've turned into a completely frightened coocooberry. (I kid you not. You got this sort of a thing going on and you notice yourself cough? Maybe even only one time? Lung cancer, you think to yourself. I wonder how long I have left.)
No no no, she assures me and rolls out a whole lotta statistics. There is a very high rate of being called back in after your screening mammogram. What happens next is called a diagnostic mammogram. Here. Here's the official info from the American Cancer Society: a suspicious finding does not mean you have cancer. In fact less than 10% of women called back for more tests are found to have breast cancer.
She whispers other things. Like the direction you'd be directed to if you did get officially suspicious news and that is not toward the exit. That lots of women do not respond to a call back when they get a questionable result on their screening test. WhAt? I say. You have got to be kidding me. We talked about people who have cancer and what color their skin looks like. And on and on. She was very nice. And somewhere along the line, I must have started breathing again. Possibly maybe.
I took my paper, and went and got dressed and met P in the lobby area. He had to have been equally as freaked as I was-neither one of us was prepared for a third cancer in one year-but at the same time, no plans for what to do in case anything went right.
We went for ice cream. Polar Bear on Cermak. He got a strawberry sundae and I got a twist cone and we were sitting at a park bench in the tiniest slice of shade on the parking lot and over the speakers comes: When A Man Loves a Woman and I say, hey is this our song? And he says, one of them.
I was supposed to come home and grab my Zumba stuff but I was wrecked-tired and that's continued for two more days. It's the nodding of your head when everyone tells you it's probably nothing. That's what wears you out.
Friday, I worked and we were scheduled to go meet a new surgeon. (This would be for the hernia.) Good haircut/good shoes(the original colon surgeon)gave me a list of three that he recommended. This guy had the next available opening so we went for it and we were not sorry that we did.
We saw our nurse friend Loretta. It seems like they keep the nurses in place and the surgeons move in and out on different days in these little hallways. Hallway-ettes.
I got to sit in this super cool new kind of table where there's a kind of a tall back and then the part where you hop on and then your feet dangle below. I guess it's a regular table cut in three. Very soft. Very nice. I was ready for a nap.
A student came in to collect our general story. Then the resident and the surgeon. We liked him right away. Would it be enough to say he was clearly not an a-hole like the last surgeon-Pink Shirt? They did a pretty aggressive exam on my belly. (It's been a bit of a rough week in terms of prodding, huh?) They were feeling for the edges of the hernia and then trying to get the student to feel them too. At one point I was ready to heave. I think they were pushing down on my organs or something but I hung in there because that is who I am.
I explained about my disappearing health insurance and how I'd like to hop on top of this ASAP. We made a tentative date-I need to alert all my jobs when I'm 100% sure-but it is soon and I am ready.
I asked every question I could think of. Big difference between now and just about a year ago when all I could think to say was: GET IT OUT NOW.
The gym called me. I missed a night. I kinda knew they'd call me if I missed a couple but this was after missing just one. I'm cool with that. I'm glad to know they're paying attention.
And if life has not been exciting enough, I'm going to a cocktail party tomorrow night. It'll probably go into the wee hours, if I remember rightly.