A year and a half ago I woke up from a horrible dream, sweaty and trembling. I was dreaming I had a bad cyst on my left breast. I’ve always had those liquid lumps, the ones medics refer to as “normal”, they’re there because of too much Coca-Cola or caffeine and whatnot, but in my dream it was clear that this small ball from the depths of hell was not one of those so called “good ones”. Not to sound Susan Miller-like, but that nightmare made me book an appointment with my doctor as soon as I opened my eyes, my body all soaked up in sweat and tears.
And guess what.
—- Yes, darling, you have several of those cysts we know about…
The loudest silence and then, a but. But. BUT. (BUT??? I thought, wanting to fish the words out of this woman’s mouth as soon as possible).
—-There’s this one here that looks kind of different. I just don’t like what it looks like.
Oh, okay. WHAT, YOU KNOW, IN THE WORLD, DOES THAT MEAN?
— Well, if you’ve got time we can do a full mammogram and biopsy right away.
If I’ve got time??? Can I not have time for a biopsy?
So, a biopsy, as in you have to cut my flesh, take stuff out and send it someplace where they will tell me if my body is failing? WHAT?!
I was 32. (First time in years that I’d thought of my age as young).
Nothing had really happened yet, and my head was already spinning, wildly. And the nightmare is actually THE nightmare.
They do the biopsy an hour or so later. As I had pictured it, they cut my breast, just a little, but a cut nevertheless. My mother is there because she just happened to have the time that day to come with me to this random appointment, and maybe we would just chat about my sister’s upcoming wedding. And now I have this cut and I don’t know if I’ll be able to try on the dress or even enjoy the party.
There’s nothing actually going on yet, but it’s unavoidable, you imagine every possible scenario. All comes to your mind, the most vane stuff, and the most substantial. All of it.
The doctors say we have to wait for about three or four business days for the results. BUSINESS DAYS? Like cancer takes the weekend, I thought. That was the first time I dared to hear that word resonate in my head. Cancer. I may just have cancer.
Between the day the doctors took the biopsy and the delivery of the results, a week went by. I was in pain from the cut, but lived it up. I went to a dinner party, discussed movies, had funny meetings, talked to a few friends about the thing, went to my therapist, met someone interesting, and then the “results day” came. I thought that Wednesday when my doctor announced the not-so-good-looking lump on my breast was the scariest moment ever, but oh was I mistaken.
I swear that, as entering the health center where my doctors have their offices, I almost threw up my heart. I had to stop and sit on the stairs before going in. I vividly felt this organ crawling up my throat. There is no other way to describe the feeling. My heart was pounding and it was the fastest thing on the planet.
I didn’t have cancer. The biopsy was negative for malign stuff. They had to recheck the samples with another pathologist, just in case, because the lump looked bad on the mammogram.
It was the scariest day, and the happiest one.
Many times you second-guess yourself, but there I was, certain that everything I’ve been doing for the past few months was right. I quit what many would consider a ‘great job’ that didn’t excite me as much, I was leaving behind an old love, I was meeting new people and making new friends, strengthening the friendships I already had by giving them more time, traveling and going places with loved ones and by myself. I was developing projects that made me want to be here.
So, on this crazy, scary day, I was happy because I was already doing what I actually wanted. I didn’t have to have cancer to start doing it. Serene happiness I call it.
Let me say this though, I firmly believe that once you’ve had your biopsy samples taken, doctors should just put you under general anesthesia and drag you out of that quiet time when they get the results, because the waiting is an endless Nikki Minaj concert, which is hell to me.
Also, go see your doctor.