Silhouette of hand moving a chess piece

It is early, very early, Saturday morning as I write this. I am a little out of sorts, and didn’t notice until rereading this over for the 3rd time that I initially wrote, “it is early Saturday morning as I right this….” Yikes. That kind of thing has been happening to me a lot lately. Auto correct has definitely become my friend.

This is the fourth weekend in a row I have been waiting for results about something with my breast cancer. That’s right, the fourth weekend. On the path to figuring out a treatment plan, I am learning more than one would ever want to know about one’s boobs.

My cousin, who has been through this before, just two years ago, with the same kind of cancer- even the same breast (and luckily now, on the other side of it, she is better than ever) informed me that these first weeks of gathering information, putting the puzzle together, putting together a plan, and moving forward is the hardest.

“It is painful, torture actually, to wait,” she emailed me, “to wait for the pathology, the MRI results, the receptor statuses, the blood work, the appointments…“

It’s true. I hate not knowing. I hate the thought that every day while I wait around the cancer could be growing inside me while I do nothing to stop it. I hate not having a plan. I hate not being able to plan a trip away with my youngest daughter to celebrate her college graduation. I hate uncertainty.

“How do you deal with the waiting?” a friend asked me.

“How do you NOT deal with waiting?” I answered.

Because the fact is, there is no choice. You deal with the waiting by leading your life.

By doing the exact same things that you did before you were told you had breast cancer. By distraction. Lots of it.

You deal with the waiting by showing up, doing things, saying yes. Because the truth is, physically you still feel good- better than good, while the emotional aspects of it are surely taking its toll. And doing is the only way to go.

You deal with the waiting by attending a Girl’s Night Out cooking class, by savoring every bite and taste of wine, by being a little too loud, by asking a few too many questions.

You deal with the waiting by accepting the invitation of Team SCA to sail in Newport, Rhode Island, meeting a few brave members of the team, and chatting with Shirley, a remarkable 90 year old woman who is also a guest on this short sail as her “Make a Wish Of A Lifetime” wish.

You deal with the waiting by checking out the eye candy in the form of the gorgeous 20-something Swede as he pulls up the sails.

You deal with the waiting by cutting up fruit for your famous vodka concoction (our “Benjamin Brew”) that you will bring to NYC for your daughter’s graduation party.

You deal with the waiting by laughing on the couch while watching “Modern Family” and the last episodes of Jon Stewart.

You deal with the waiting by waking up in the arms of a husband that loves you, and that you love back.

And then….just when you think you will have to wait the whole entire weekend for news, your oncologist calls on a Saturday morning in the middle of writing your piece….at 9:00AM. What kind of doctor calls on a Saturday?  A damn good one.

“I waited until 9 to call you,” he said.

“Like you thought I might be SLEEPING?” I asked him incredulously.  I told him that sleep is a rare commodity these days. And then I thanked him for calling.

The results of my most recent biopsy, of course, are a mixed bag. No cancer in the left breast. But another spot of cancer in the right, not so close to the first spot, making the lumpectomy I thought I would be able to get impossible.

I can almost hear my dad saying, “It could be worse…” and then he’d pause for a second or two and finish the joke, “…it could be me!” And the thought of him saying that about this whole situation gives me a smile.

I can probably wait until after the summer to have a mastectomy, as long as it is the same kind of cancer, and as long as I begin hormone therapy right away. But I won’t know that for sure until those lab results come in. And as they say, man plans, God laughs.  The plan never ends up being the plan, and I’m getting used to that.

So back to the waiting game…for a few more days.

In the meantime, I’m going to investigate that special they have going on at Canyon Ranch, where new graduates stay free with their moms. And I am certainly going to start thinking about what might be an ideal cup size for my new perky boob.


Can You Learn To Be Patient With Breast Cancer? was last modified: by

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