I'm getting dressed (and my clothing stays put) when Dearest One asks if I want him to come along with me to my doctor's appointment. I tell him that no, this is a routine appointment, taking no more than five minutes. If it was the one we are hoping never comes - the one that starts with a phone call telling us we need to come talk with the doctor about test results - then absolutely, yes, I would want him there. The possibility of that phone call is a week away at least so I head to town on my own.
I'm sitting in the doctor's office and chatting away with him about not getting answers to my weight loss. His beeper goes off and he presses a button to ignore it and we keep on talking. He is an attentive listener, he reveals his humanity to me and I appreciate that about him. His eyes have a kindness in them that seems to come from deep places. We agree on a game plan even though none of my lab work fits with the need for it, but hey, we'll give it a try. He'll see me in three months and go from there. I get up and am satisfied with the visit. It's gone as I thought it would. I tuck the prescription in my purse and head out the door.
I am a few steps out of his office when I turn around and pop my head in the doorway and say to him, "I realize people are getting shitty news every day and I'm not one of them. As much as my curious mind hates not knowing the reason why I'm losing weight, considering the alternative, I can live with it." He tells me how many people get so angry with him when he tells them that he has no answers for why they are experiencing health issues. He seems relieved I'm not one of them.
I make my way to his receptionist's desk to make the follow up appointment. She's not there and I feel impatient. I hesitate, trying to decide if I'll wait for her or just phone later. She's really hard to get on the phone and I feel more impatient at the thought of going that route so I decide to wait.
We're in the middle of getting that appointment settled when the doctor comes out and says, "Can I see you for a minute?" I figure he's thought of some other solution, has had a brain wave and I eagerly pick up my purse and follow him back into his office.
He tells me the beeper had been from my family doctor and he had just gotten off the phone with her.
"Unfortunately I have to tell you the biopsy came back malignant."
I look out the window and say, "Fuck."
He turns his computer screen so I can see it and reads me the pathology report.
We talk. There are many good things in the report. Hopeful things. It's still not as shitty as it could be. Shitty, yes. But not shittier.
Although I really believe only the person going through it gets to say that. Last night someone told me very matter of factly how it could be so much worse and proceeded to tell me of her friend who had it so much worse than me. Something wilted inside me as I listened. Disappointed at how hard it is to stand with someone in their pain, for all of us, myself included. Reminded at how words can create walls or bring healing. And even though it was true, her friend does have it so much worse than me, I still wanted to slam down the phone again and again as if I was beating her into silence with it.He walks me out to the exit asking if I need to call someone, if I am okay to drive. I tell him I will go home and have a good cry, that I will call someone if I can't drive home safely.
I get in my car and drive directly to my family doctor's office. Relieved to see each other, we talk and I remind her what I said last week - that if this lump turned out to be cancer then the weight loss would be a blessing because it wouldn't have been found without the diagnostic testing they'd done for the weight loss. We talk about the hopeful things in the report, about what to expect next. I stand to go and reach towards her and we hug.
I get to my car and look at my phone. My heart sinks when I see there is a message from Dearest One saying 'urgent, call me'. Seeing those words tells me he listened to the phone message from our family doctor saying exactly what I'd said earlier that morning - I need to talk to you about test results. It's not supposed to be like this. I'm not supposed to be confirming this news on the phone. We're supposed to be sitting side by side in the doctor's office. I remember a conversation I'd had with a close friend just last week where she reminded me that I was trying to control what I couldn't. Damn.
I'm driving home and remember my dream. I gasp as I realize the same side of my top disappeared in my dream as the side that has cancer in it. I knew before I knew.