I want to talk today about something that happened and I struggle with how to approach it because it’s a delicate subject. On the one hand, I could skip over it entirely and you’d never be the wiser but that’s not how this blog works. My life is the focal point and if this is to be a true journal of mine, I need to document moments as they happen and how I felt. But some things are best left undiscussed with those who hold no medical degree. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to proceed (with caution).
It started about a year ago. (Now, I know you’re wondering what ‘it’ is but I choose to spare you the gory details of explaining everything ‘it’ entails. For this post, you’ll just have to trust me that ignorance of specific details is truly bliss.) I started to notice something that was wrong with my body. It was a small issue at first but began to become more prevalent over time.
Google is the holder of all answers and so I thought I’d give it a whirl. No stranger to googling medical questions, I was expectantly waiting to find the 2 answers for every problem one might exhibit… cancer or a vitamin deficiency. I clicked the top search result and scanned through. Yep, there was one type of cancer, and another. ‘hmmm, there has to be a vitamin i’m lacking. i barely have any‘. But there was no suggestion for that. Just one alarming result after another.
If you’ve known me for longer than 5 minutes, you’ve probably picked up on the ability my imagination has to run away if left to its own devices. I quickly reigned it in. I would call my doctor tomorrow to find out the completely reasonable explanation for why I was having this problem. I called, left a message for my doctor’s nurse to call me and waited. It was about 5:40pm when she finally had the chance to return my call and I explained my issue. She asked me if I could come in tomorrow morning.
Me: “sure, what time?”
Me (nervous laugh): “wow, 9am. that’s quick.”
Nurse: “you’ll be seeing Dr. V.”
I told her I’d see her then and I hung up the phone, feeling a little unsettled. My doctor is awesome but if you aren’t pregnant, you have to schedule at least 1.5 years out to see her specifically. But I was seeing her with a little over 12 hours notice. That wasn’t reassuring.
Along with the creative mind that whisks me away sometimes, I am also incredibly gifted at denial. I’ve spent the better part of years safely tucked in its bossum. So when the warning bells in my head started going off, I was able to shut them down rather quickly. I spent the rest of the night busying myself and most importantly… not thinking.
I woke early the next day to try to get some work done while the kids were sleeping. When I did wake them, I made their breakfast and lunches. Off they went and Dan, as well. In the house alone, I jumped in the shower to get ready for my appointment and I could hear a whisper of worry. Shhhh… I told it but I could feel my belly rumble with doubt.
As I drove to the doctor’s office, I tried to distract myself from any thoughts of seriousness but they couldn’t be quieted anymore.
worry: “what if it is cancer?”
me: “it’s not cancer. i am young and healthy.”
worry: “young and healthy people get cancer.”
me: “i have young kids, they need me. i can’t have cancer.”
worry: “people with kids get cancer all the time.”
me: “there’s a perfectly simple explanation to this. dr. v will tell me it and i’ll feel dumb for bothering them. it’s not cancer.”
worry: “but what if it is?”
me: “i’m turning up the radio… shut up.”
I managed to make it to the doctor’s office without any further internal discussion. The nurse called me back and took my blood pressure. It was a little high but she patted my arm and said, “i’m sure it’s because you’re worried.”. “or the 8 cups of coffee i had this morning!” I quipped. But her words stuck in my head. The doctor came into the room and I realized why… I wasn’t the only one concerned, they were too.
It was at that moment, I seriously began to question if I should have come alone. What if they did find something? Could I handle hearing that by myself? What would my reaction be? Would I fall apart? Would I react in denial? What is the right way to respond when you receive horrible news?
I think most of us like to picture ourselves as strong. We envision ourselves as being made of steel. Bulletproof. Nothing can touch us. We wander through our lives, considering ourselves invincible, untouchable. Sure, we wear our seatbelts and take vitamins. We know we need to excercise and eat right. But we never really actually believe a bomb of devastation could land on our world that will devastate our lives. It’s probably for the best we don’t. How could we function if we were always waiting for that bomb to drop?
That morning I felt vulnerable, a state I abhor. I am titanium… except for when I’m not. Sitting in the doctor’s office, I felt more like porcelain. I realized how breakable and fragile my existence really is and reminded that tomorrow is never promised. I thought of the amazingly brave women I know that have beaten cancer and the strength of those who are fighting right now possess. They are heroes to me.
The results of my tests were better than some receive. A large fibroid tumor is the culprit for the issues I’ve had. My heart breaks that everyone’s results aren’t always as relieving.
Life is for living, dreams are for chasing and titanium is brittle when cold. Hug your people and love the hell out of them.