One year ago today, five excruciatingly long days after my first biopsy, the radiologist called with the imaging results. “How are you doing today?” she said.
“Well, that depends,” I said, my heart already pounding like mad, “on what you tell me.”
So she told me. And my heart pounded even madder as she explained my diagnosis and told me the next steps to take, which I wrote on a piece of paper with all the lip-biting carefulness of a first grader trying to get an “A” on a spelling test. Immediately upon that call’s end, I initiated those steps.
Over the next three weeks, I had two biopsies and more imaging (I got to experience a charming variety of biopsies, each more delightful than the one before), and three weeks and one day after my first diagnosis, in the relative darkness of the radiologist’s office, she delivered more heart-pounding news, and I almost literally fell out of my chair.
At that moment, everything around me seemed to be outlined in black, like a cartoon, so vivid and sharp, even in the low light, and I felt simultaneously numb and like I could feel every atom making up my body.
They were waiting for me one floor down at the surgeon’s office. I asked countless times if they knew I was coming, if they knew why I was coming, if all I had to do was go down there and they’d know what to do. Each time I was assured yes, yes, and yes.
And then I took more steps, both in terms of procedures/appointments and in physical steps to and from them.
Thus commenced the worst year of my existence but also the best, because I’m here in a chair now with no signs of falling out of it.