Tim and I were talking last night in bed. I felt badly about falling apart, about reaching the point where the only thing I could do is walk into the Cancer Center and say, "Okay. I'm having some trouble here, and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do." Tim cleared his throat. "I'm glad that you did," he said. "I've been worried about this pain all week, and I'd made up my mind to spend the weekend trying to talk you into going to the Cancer Center before the end of the month."
I knew that these were challenging times for all of us, but I don't think that I realized how this was impacting the family until I saw Cara's tearful face, until I saw the slightly frantic look on Tim's face as he leapt out of the car at the Cancer Center. (Since it was spur of the moment, he had no clue why I was there and assumed something had gotten way worse.) Tims rarely get frantic, so this was new to me.
The oncologist is good, and she did not make me a feel foolish. I explained what was going on. She offered other ideas of what could be going on besides localized advanced breast cancer. It was reassuring. She looked at me much like I had looked at Cara, I imagine. She said, just as I had said, 'Listen, I can't tell you that you don't have cancer again. I can't tell you that you have nothing to be worried about. But I can tell you, right this very minute, that there is nothing here that is setting off alarms for me.'
Yesterday was an awful day for me. Yesterday, although I did not crumble and fall apart in a weeping heap of sobbing, I fell apart completely. This was a surprise to me, but I found, once again, that there is a good safety net, people who care, to catch me when I fall. People prayed, for me, for Cara. A doctor spent time to talk. The staff reassured and told me that they were glad I was there. My husband said, for the first time, how proud he was to watch me move through this as a woman of faith and courage. He said, for the first time, how horrified he was to know there was a second lump. He was very afraid, and drew strength from my calm.
Things are back on a more even keel today. The situation has not changed at all, but peace is again coming from a very deep place inside. It is what it is. I resolve once again to stop being this little 'self contained unit'. I will throw myself into my little community of people who love me, and people who care, and I will draw my strength from them when I cannot find it in myself. I will allow myself to be blessed, and I will thank God.
And can any person out there tell me why, after everything, my biggest fear is of looking foolish and over-reactive?