So I got these beautiful tulips, and then the call about 24 hours ago. It was from the "Breast Care Coordinator" because it happened to be the first day of my surgeon's vacation. I really wanted it to be my surgeon because I have a connection with her. I feel safe with her. I trust her and understand her language and she even seems to understand my unspoken language.
As soon as I realized what the call was about my mind went dreamy. I choked up and tears came. She told me that she wished she had better news, but 5 out of 21 lymph nodes were cancerous. And then my mind became a sieve, catching only the things I do not want to hear. Not so much like me, to hear things in this way. She said there needed to be some scans to see where this cancer was trying to get. She said I could be completely cancer free right now post surgery. But then she said things like "longevity" and "quality of life" and "I'm not saying you're going to die in three months." Those things I did not want to hear. They weren't within my thought processes yet. And 24 hours later I know I REALLY don't want to hear them. Those words to me are a death sentence. I'm not going there. I wanted to hollar, "WHOA there Rose! I'm worrying about the rough road of chemo, not death! Why are you taking me down that dark path now? Give me a chance. Gather all the numbers. Tell me more things like I have a lot of work ahead but stay the hell away from quality of life. I love my life and its quality. Why should my quality change just because I'm fighting this disease?" Yeah. That's what I wanted to say. That's what I said in my head because I didn't want to open one more single door with her in that moment. Our conversation was done and I was full up with all I could hear.
And I stressed for a few hours tumbling all of her fragmented sentences around in my head. It's ironic that the call came in a window between caretakers: my wonderful visit with my cousin had just ended and Alex was coming to spend the night. As soon as I got my barings and started telling the family, my son Alex just said, "Mom, I'm coming out there right now." And he did. And he stayed until just now. And Isaac came with my favorite soup and the children and we read books and played blocks and had a sweet evening. And Shannon called from her conference a few times. And Brooke wrote from the airport in Italy to say she was so glad she would be home today. And Zak said he'd be here tomorrow and he loved me so much. And Camille called from the road following her very important job interview. And Matt called and said he'd be out my way and did I need anything...
It's looking like chemo is a given now, and I am preparing myself for a very challenging road. And we're positive here, friends. This morning I had a good informative meeting about Phoenix Tears therapy. Today I'm going to do some drawing and writing, then Camille will come and help me shower and braid my hair. Alex is going to help me wash some clothes. Tomorrow I have a bone scan, and Monday a CAT scan.
But my beautiful life, full of quality, continues on one moment at a time. It's not something I have to think about and plan for as per medical orders, it already exists.