Note 1: if you didn't already know about Tit the Betrayer, you might want to read here first.
Note 2: By no means do I want to take anything away from the people who do have/get the ass-hat that is cancer, in any form. Your journey has gone/will go much further than mine, and only a group of traveling minstrels could do justice to your bravery. I'm not even lucky, I'm just cyst-e. I didn't struggle to survive, didn't deal with chemo, and didn't have odds against placed on my life. All I dealt with was the fear of the unknown. Please forgive the following self-indulgence:
Cystic Prophesies: A Tale of Two Titties or the Boob Un-cancer Incident, Part MXVII
When we last left our hero, she was about to go all explode-y on a spelling challenged medical secretary. It was also revealed that the offensive boob lump was not cancer, and was merely a cyst, who brought several cyst friends to the party, even though none of them were invited, and who insisted on playing their own music, and told everyone why their taste in movies was so terribly mainstream.
So, why am I still writing about the whole thing when I am clearly going to survive? Because, for two weeks, I didn't know what the hell was going on in there. It was like a (completely bastardized and manipulated for my own purposes) version of the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. At any given moment, without knowing the results, it was possible that I was both cancer free and cancerous. If only I was like a cow with a window, so I could see inside my lady lump and supervise what's going on in there. The cysts/cancer cells would have to carry little signs though, 'cause I ain't no doctor, I can't tell those things apart.
If there were lots of them, it might look like they were picketing. In a moment of confusion I might actually give in to their demands and agree to paid vacations and two personal items in their workspace.
Initially, I wasn't going to tell anyone, ManFriend included. Both my parents have had cancer, and it was very dramatic and scary for everyone (in another post I'll talk about my family's terrible bad news delivery system). I didn't want to frighten anybody unnecessarily, or have melodramatic all-about-me time. Cancer seemed a very heavy load for relatively young relationship to bear. How could I possibly ask ManFriend to go through all the worry, pain, vomit, ugly-crying, and anxiety that accompanies a cancer diagnosis? Still, I was scared and having moments of complete panic. More than anything, I needed someone other than Bob Marley to tell me everything is gonna be alright.
Imaginary Cities - Ride this out became my anthem. Actually, it's always my anthem.
**WARNING - THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS GRAPHIC SCENES
OF ICKY MUSHINESS, GRATEFULNESS, AND GROSS LOVEY DOVEY STUFF**
People who know Teresa personally may feel that the world doesn't make sense anymore.
RATED E for EWWWWWW
Thank the cosmos for ManFriend. I sprung the news on him on the drive to see his Mom (15 minutes before we got to her house - because you have to keep family tradition alive), and from that moment on, he was an incredible pillar of awesome for me to cling to. He told me it was going to be OK, and listened when I needed to talk about how it might not be. He was careful not to fuss over me too much, made me laugh at pretty much everything, and hugged me even when I couldn't admit I was upset. I told my sister, glossing over the potential nastiness so she wouldn't have to worry from so far away. After we hung up the phone, I collapsed into a oddly shaped anxiety-ball and ManFriend deftly maneuvered me towards sanity.
One evening, I told him how I'd been up all night, caught in a fear spiral (like a giggle loop, but with waaay less mirth). One minute I'd be planning the "all-the-worry-was-for-nothing" celebration dinner, the next I was deciding if I should cut both my ta-tas off so I wouldn't have balance issues. Balance probably wouldn't be an issue for most of the brave women who get a mastectomy, but I'm specially balanced as it is; it doesn't take much to tip me over. I'd spent sleepless hours planning on how get rid of my stuff so people wouldn't have to deal with it if I didn't make it.
"I've been thinking," ManFriend said. "If the worst should happen, which I really hope it doesn't, that I would take a year off work." I started shaking my head; I couldn't see a reason for him to give up the financial means to his dreams just because I got sick. "No," he said. "I will. And you will be off work, obviously. We'll take all our money, we'll travel the world until you've seen all you want to see, and you are happy. And we will spend those last times together."
"Gaaragghhhaggh!" That's the sound of my heart cockles getting all mushy. Damn the man for making me want cancer. For future reference, ManFriend says that a chest cold isn't enough of a reason for him to take a year off work. Not even if I cough convincingly or roll my eyes back in my head while delivering grand death-bed monologues.
The day of the ultrasound came, and I was so cool my temperature was 0 degrees kelvin. That is, I was right up until the extremely stern technician dumped a bucket of warm lube on my boob, and started scanning without even a "how do you do" in my direction. For some reason, her lack of bed-side manners made the situation seem so much more serious. I felt completely alone and very scared, so I, in all my 30 year old glory, started to cry. No comfort was to be had from Helga, she scanned away, making disapproving sounds every now and then.
To add to my sorrow, I was sure that I would never not have a slippery breast again. They must buy lube by the sea-can, because Helga sure didn't scrimp. If this whole breast cancer thing was a go, I could make extra cash by providing breast lube to mechanics and handymen. "There's a positive side to everything," is what insensitive ass-holes like to say.
As I've already told you the end result of this booby adventure, I won't dwell on it for too long. Cysts are jerks who like to scare the feces out of you, but they are way better than cancer. Ladies, check your boobs. Know your boobs. If your boobs start giving you attitude, scan the crap outta those bastards, and put an end their nasty little game early. Even the scared part feels good when you find out there is nothing to worry about.
|image by barbara cole via sabino|