I'm in the breast cancer surgeons office. The office is so tranquil. Brest cancer symbols everywhere you look. They are in shadow box frames, magazines and pictures hanging on the wall. Each one telling of some inspirational phrase that encourages survivors. Looking around and holding my husbands hand like he can save me from the Pit, it's beginning to sink in. I have breast cancer. How can it be? I feel perfectly normal, perfectly fine. Not even a runny nose. I just lost 30lbs and I feel healthier and more vibrant then I've felt in the last few years. Besides all my clothes fit and that will always make you feel great.
When my Doctor entered the room I felt like an army sergeant had blasted through the door. With barely an introduction she put up my old mammograms films on wall from 2007, turn to looked at me and said, "Do you remember these in 2007"?
Yes, "I said."
She pointed out the suspicious areas. I swear she glared at me when she asked where are the 2008, 2009 and 2010 films. She knew there weren't any, she shook her head in that disappointed parent way. I was too ashamed to cry. Then she held up the new films and pointed out the better quality in technology that we have now. The lump I came in for was a cyst. A simple cyst that was extracted from my body right there in her office. Not cancerous but behind that cyst where two little conniving cancer tumors just hanging out and multiplying daily. We biopsied them right there on Dec 15th, 2011. She told my that because they were not round, they were jagged and irregular and because this was the area in 2007 that was suspicious; Well. she really didn't tell me anything, she looked at me straight in the eye, caulked her head to the side and shrugged her shoulders.
We'll find out, "I am sorry that I have to be so hard on you, but you have neglected yourself ", she spoke tenderly.
I said, "That's okay, I need it. So, kick my ass and then please save my life."
She said, ''I will do my very best.''
The very next day, December 16th, 2011 I was in the social services building trying to apply for some kind of medical coverage through Clark County. I just knew I was in big trouble. I didn't need a biopsy to tell me. The look on the mammogram technician's face, the attitude of my breast cancer surgeon.. that said enough for me to spring into action. It was there among the homeless and the children running around in coats too small, among the veterans in wheel chairs that I took the phone call from my Doc.
"May I tell you the results over the phone," she asked.
I said, "yes of course".
Once more she asked for permission.. "are you sure"?
"Yes, please." I said.
We giggled for a moment when she asked where I was and why was it so noisy? I canfessed where I was and she was glad the I was taking action.
"It is cancer my dear." Long pause. She continued, "We know at lot about this cancer. 80% of all women who get this cancer get this one, and that's good."
My first response was cold and calculated as I heard my own voice say," double mastectomy please." As if I was ordering a hamburger at a fast food joint. Hold the onions!
There were 10 days between my mammogram appointment and the results. During those 10 days my husband and I both shed many tears. We re-evaluated and re-prioritized. we were kinder to one another, giving more allowances and grace. We allowed the what ifs to be reality before it really was. Somehow, we were prepared. I knew that I knew that I knew. I already knew that I had stage two cancer and that I needed THEM OFF! With no tests and no consultations... I just already knew.
Social Services called my name. I went to the counter window with my paper work in hand and spoke the words out loud to a perfect stranger. "Hi, I'm Sheri and I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Is there a way I can get insurance"?