A little less than six months ago, this was us. Silly, at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans. I certainly wouldn't say not a care in the world, but at least we were doing pretty well. We had six months of me travelling for work about 2 weeks a month ahead of us, and were looking forward to the extra money. Sweetie was looking forward to official retirement, and the SS money she was going to start drawing by the end of the year. We were planning on starting to try to have a baby. Life was sweet.
In August, after months of infertility treatments to prepare me, I had my first insemiation. Woohoo! Started having morning sickness, all the symptoms, but was still early for a positive test. I was getting ready to go on a business trip (was literally having lunch with my daughter, on my way to the airport) when I got a call from Sweetie. Her sister had attempted suicide, and they were on the way to the hospital (she called me from her car, following the ambulance).
Cue my calling my boss, in a panic, and driving to my mother-in-law's house to stay 'for a few days', which turned into three weeks. Three weeks of no CPAP machine (no outlet in the bedroom to plug it into) and no good sleep. Three weeks of working from my work laptop, which overheated along with me since the house was over 90 degrees (the single room air conditioner had been going out for a year, but my mother-in-law didn't care, as she is always cold anyway). Three weeks of living on string cheese, canned fruit, and pop tarts, since no one in the house had any interest in eating, or cooking. If you've ever had the singular joy of waiting around for someone you love to be released from a mental hospital, you know just what I mean. VERY long exhausting days. I discovered I was having a very early miscarriage on my way up there. I still haven't allowed myself to mourn the loss - I've had too much else going on.
We fell into a schedule after I got us both home for a week. One week there, one week at home for Sweetie. She came home from her first 'week on duty' exhausted, and having some pain in her left breast. I called the doctor, and he scheduled her for a mammogram as a precaution, but didn't expect to see anything.
When Sweetie came home, ashen, from the mammogram appointment, I knew something was wrong. They found a mass in her RIGHT breast, the one that wasn't hurting. They had scheduled a biopsy. We would have to wait. Another month of infertility drugs skipped - can't bear the thought of trying to get pregnant with this hanging over our heads.
Biopsy day comes, and we expect it to be no big deal. She has a day of vicoden ahead of her, but otherwise she's fine. Two days later, I get a call from her while I'm at work.
"The hospital called. It's cancer."
Called the surgeon. Called the boss and let him know. Called my mother and mother-in-law and sister and sister-in-law and every friend we had and told them the news, except for the bowling league. I had to tell them last night, in person.
They cried with me. One woman volunteered to move to my team (which would be down a player, perhaps for a long time, and had already been short one) so that I could keep bowling. Another told me that she was a six year survivor, and that this was totally beatable. A third told me that Sweetie's surgeon had done her lumpectomy and that he was the best in town. A bunch of late middle aged straight women embraced me as I realized the magnitude of what I was dealing with - that at 31, I had a partner that might die. That was going to have a bilateral mastectomy. That years of planning for a baby are now turning into plans for chemo, and instead of making baby clothes I'll be altering tops for her to wear after surgery and making mastectomy pillows for her. That I will be sleeping alone in our giant waterbed for the forseeable future, since she can't get in and out by herself after surgery (and can't sleep next to me for fear we'll cuddle and disturb her incisions).
I still haven't cried about this. It's been a week and a half since the diagnosis. I hope I will let myself soon - every day that passes is scarier and scarier. The only thing keeping me going is the kindness that everyone has shown - for all our philosophical differences, for all those who were just a *little* uncomfortable with the whole 'lesbians married' thing, all I have gotten from everyone is love. We are all human, after all.