Trying to go to bed last night was difficult. I felt like a little girl, too excited to sleep before her first day of school. And by excited I mean terrified and by first day of school I mean breast cancer exam.
I went to work for a few hours this morning and felt more and more like vomiting as 3:00, my appointment time, approached. My poor husband was probably more vomit-ey than I was. He had a major 4-hour job interview this morning, and he went straight from that to my doctor’s appointment. Talk about an intense day!
The doctor I was supposed to see was pulled into emergency surgery so Isaac and I sat in the exam room for a little over an hour. Our topic of conversation swayed back and forth between interview talk and boobs. In situations like today, I am reminded just how lucky I am to have a husband like Isaac. I sat on the exam table draped in an itchy maroon gown, terrified of what was to come, and he brought me back down to earth. I felt on the verge of a panic attack and he coaxed me into a state of relaxation by rattling off statistics and facts about breast cancer. He is so sciencey and loves to nerd out about about biology and physiology and while sometimes it drives me crazy, today I loved it. He made me laugh as we talked about what would happen if the doctor came in and caught me peeing in the sink because I just couldn’t hold it anymore. I was close, my toilet-sink idea wasn’t completely a joke. He made me feel like I wasn’t at the doctor about to have a preliminary exam for breast cancer.
The doctor came in and called me Mrs. Carney- I instantly liked him as I thought of all my Hispanic friends who also call me “Carney”, the word “Courtney” utterly impossible with a thick Latino accent. His outstanding bedside manner and careful way with words made Isaac and I feel comfortable and cared for. I fought back the urge to ask him the gory details of his emergency surgery and instead showed him my ta-ta’s almost immediately. I didn’t want to talk about them and tell him my symptoms- I wanted him to grab ’em, squeeze ’em, inspect ’em, and tell me everything was okay.
After a thorough exam where I only laughed out loud once because having a man grab my boobs with my husband watching was one of the most hilariously awkward things of my life, he told me that he was not too concerned and he didn’t feel anything abnormal.
He still wants to do a mammogram, ultrasound, and skin biopsy to make sure I don’t have a very rare form of breast cancer, but there is a very, very, very, very good chance that I’m just fine. This is what was happening in my head as he spoke:
But seeing as how my boob was still exposed and I had droplets of nervous sweat trickling from my armpits to my socks, I remained calm. And seated.
The relief that Isaac and I felt leaving that appointment was enormous. True, no actual tests have been done yet, but just having the doc say that he wasn’t too worried and to not freak out made me feel a lot better. We celebrated by getting pizza, ice cream, beer, and watching The Office together. We will also both be asleep by 9:00 PM tonight, I guarantee it.
Sitting in a doctor’s office talking about cancer and pre-cancerous cells was a real out of body experience for me. Sure, Isaac and I have thrown around the word at home several times in the past few days, but talking to a surgeon about it felt eerie. It made me realize how insanely overwhelming it must be when you are actually given news that you do have cancer, or some other horrible diagnosis. My heart suddenly ached for all the women before me who have not been so lucky, ones who have gone in for a “rule out procedure” and were presented with their actual horrifying worst case scenario.
All of this has been a huge reminder to me about how I need to live my life. In an instant things can change, and while I’ve had a tumultuous year with medical issues, my health and my life in general are great. Life is too short to settle, so in the areas that I am definitely settling, it’s time to make a change.
Also, my hubby kicked ass at his interview.