This morning I held myself back from hugging the doctor after the biopsy. She pronounced the lumps on my neck, not malignant.
I asked if she was sure. She said there was no doubt. Her waist-length hair and Birkenstock shoes made her look approachable, like someone who might not mind being hugged. Instead, I shook her hand and thanked her profusely.
I walked out of the Cancer Center wing of the hospital, left a voice mail on my daughter's cell phone, and cried in the warm sunshine.
This is to say thank you to every one of you who commented, sent good juju, or just had a good thought in their head for me.
While teaching my 4 0'clock Family Yoga class last week, I kept apologizing for my voice. It cracked, it was hoarse, my guided meditation must have sounded awful. I turned up the music and let them drift into Savasana without too much of my throat clearing interfering with their peacefulness.
The next day, it looked like an egg had hatched under my neck. The egg-like shape was hard and tender to the touch.It hurt to swallow. For the past week, I've been waking up to the same egg under my skin. Eating has become nearly impossible.
My doctor immediately took three vials of blood, and sent me down the elevator for an ultrasound of my neck.
The ultrasound tech moved the wand over the egg, frowning, moving it back again to the same spot, frowning some more. I watched her eyebrows knit together and immediately thought she would be a perfect candidate for Botox. All technicians could use it. It could be in their contract.
You must keep an absolutely still poker face, or you will be subject to Botox injections.
I studied her face, the lines between her eyebrows deepening. I tried to look at the screen, but the angle was just out of my sight.
I remember my only other ultrasound twenty one years ago. That one, they put in front of me practically, like a television set. Big head, five fingers, sweet images. The doctor even gave me the images to take home. They are in my daughter's baby book.
This time, there are no pictures to take home.
The doctor calls the next day. You need to schedule an MRI and a biopsy as soon as possible.
It's a funny thing about bad news. I hear it, but then I go somewhere else. Someone else takes over. I'm not sure who she is, but she is efficient and without emotion. The MRI is scheduled for the next day. The doctor has to use her pull to get me in for the biopsy, because the wait is two weeks. She wants it done now.
Friday evening, the MRI place calls to say my insurance requires pre-certification, which could take a couple of days. The test is cancelled.
I am left with a weekend of waiting.
I told a few trusted people what was going on. I asked for prayers, or good thoughts, or just good juju sent my way.
My husband asks me every half hour how I'm feeling, or if he can get me anything. I want to tell him to make this go away.
It's the waiting that is the worst. Once there is an answer, the wheels are set in motion. Living in limbo is the worst.
So I text my friends. I call my daughter because she will make me laugh. I go out to the store and buy magazines and not so healthy snacks. (I can't swallow them anyway.) I talk to my level headed friends who calm me just by being level headed. I assure my husband I am okay, because he is more afraid than I am.
I don't know what the outcome of these tests will be. But like most everyone else faced with a health issue, I think about dying. It comes down to that.
I don't want to die.
I love my life, I love my family, I love my friends.
I haven't seen Paris yet.
This morning I opened my email to see my daughter had sent a gift certificate to me with the words, "Treat yourself, Mom. Don't worry. I love you~"
I think how I would give up Paris every time, if I could just have years and years left to spend with her...
Yesterday I bought a magazine. I wanted to read the article, Seven Secrets of Resilient Women. The subscription card falls out of the magazine. Two years for the price of one! It's a great deal. I don't fill out the card because I worry if I am not here in two years, what will my husband do with MORE, The Magazine for Women Over Forty?
I have one more day to get through before they (hopefully) can give me the tests my doctor ordered.
Then there will be more waiting.
One of the wisest women I know told me, There is no comfortable way through the waiting... She is right. Waiting is supended animation. There is nowhere to go, and nothing to do to make it move any faster.
So today I will teach my yoga classes. Smile at my husband reassuringly.
I will take my dear friend's suggestion for what to do with all my peaches from the Farmer's Market: Stand over the sink. Eat. Rinse hands with cold water. Repeat.