Death by Waiting

Thanks to those who have written words of encouragement and kept me in your thoughts and prayers. Yes, even as an atheist I can appreciate prayers – if you care enough to intercede with your god for me, I take it as a sign of affection, and affection never hurts. Besides, I have so many different denominations praying for me that one of them’s bound to take, right? <wry grin>

I also had a bunch of phone calls yesterday wanting to know the news. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any yet. Some people have said this may be a good sign: if there was bad news, the hospital would be in more of a hurry to inform me about it!

All this helps, but basically I’m going through hell. I cope better with unhappy certainties – god knows I’ve had enough practice at that – than I deal with any kind of uncertainty. I’ve slept very poorly for a week (staying at a noisy campground at the beach last weekend didn’t help), and there aren’t enough distractions in the world to keep my mind off this. (Though Ross is certainly providing a full repertoire of teenage moments – I begin to suspect she’s trying to make me glad that she’s going away to boarding school!)

The fear and anxiety I’m experiencing are very normal – even the American Cancer Society says so. I now know that a number of my friends and relatives have already been here and done this. So why didn’t I hear about it before? It seems that people have different reactions: some keep it to themselves; some share, but only with their closest. And I suspect that, when the results come back negative, many feel a bit foolish for having put themselves through so much misery: “What right do I have to complain? I’m one of the lucky ones: turns out I don’t have cancer.” And they put it out of their minds until the next time.

Make no mistake, there will be a next time – after all, I have difficult breasts. And I have heard from and about other women who have gone through this multiple times for various reasons. There’s got to be some way to make this waiting period less horrible for all of us.

update at 10:30 am: Finally got hold of the doctor (“But she called you yesterday!” – oh?) – all is well, nothing to worry about.

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