It's been six months since diagnosis. It seems so long ago and yet I can remember it as though it were yesterday.
I had just received my mammogram results a few days prior. Everything's great, it said. Come back in a year to be squished again, it said. Um, I'm paraphrasing. A bit. I was standing in the front hallway and my hand brushed across my breast and there was the lump. Weird. But I figured it's probably due to my cycle. Probably. So I'll wait and I'll go see my doctor if it's there next week.
I had no urgency since the mammogram said I was fine. I waited, called the doctor, and had a checkup. Still, everything's fine. It can't be cancer, it doesn't feel like cancer, it wasn't there a couple of weeks ago, it's fine. I'll rationalize it any way I can.
Off Shelley and I went to the Dickson Centre for an ultrasound. No biggie. But, the following week, I received a call from my doctor while I was at work. You need a biopsy. This call scared me. A biopsy! The tears started to fall as I scribbled down the time and location, my percentage of risk, everything the doctor was telling me. My friend, Lesley, saw me across our shared cubicle wall and quietly passed me a tissue.
The following week, Shelley and I sat in the Dickson Centre waiting room. It's not very big and not very cheery. We had a long wait so we sat and people watched. Everyone else seemed to come and go, and there we sat. But unlike me, they were each having a mammogram - nice and easy, in and out. The waiting room is small and square with maybe 15 chairs along three walls. Conversations with your seatmate are not private so what else to do but look around, people watch, and try to figure out everyone's story.
Across from us was a woman in her 30s, she looked frightened and alone. I was frightened for her and just wanted to give her a hug. I had my Shelley with me and I realized everyone should have a Shelley with them for these scary appointments - a best friend just to sit there and be scared with you, to hold your hand when you need it, to be the voice of reason and keep you on schedule when you need it. This other woman needed a Shelley, someone to keep the fear out of her eyes and distract her so as to keep her bottom lip from trembling. I still think of her and wonder how her journey went. I hope the news she received was positive!
As we waited and waited for my name to be called, the faces in the waiting room changed. Some were relaxed as though this was a common occurrence. One lady noticed we had been there for awhile, perhaps she even noticed a little fear in my eyes. She looked over, gave me a thumbs up, and told me she was a 12-year survivor. And she smiled. That was her boost for me, don't worry, you'll be fine, it will be okay.
Luckily for me, she was right. Here I am six months later and it is okay. It wasn't fun, but I'm here, nearing the end of this crazy journey and it is all okay. I made it through the biopsy, the scary diagnosis, the MRI, the surgery, the leakage, the radiation and all the other appointments in between. I made it through and it is all okay. I've been blessed throughout the past six months - I know it and am so very thankful for it.