We Interrupt This Program....
It was Friday September 29, 2017. I worked a four day week so I was off. I was watching TV, sitting on the couch and clipping coupons. I was excited because I saw a coupon for Bob Evans. I absolutely LOVE their biscuits so I was making plans to go there for lunch. Around noon, my phone rang and it was the breast surgeon's office. I answered thinking it was something simple.
Me: Hi, this is Tinesar.
Dr.: This is Dr. X. Do you have a moment?
Dr.: I received your biopsy results. (short pause) You have cancer. It's a little guy so it'll be easy to handle. Can you come in today at 2 pm to talk about things?
Me: (Pause) (Silently crying) Okay.
That's how I found out I had cancer. By phone, in the middle of the afternoon.
For the life of me I can't figure out why a doctor would call someone to give them that sort of news. It was bad enough I was alone but what if I had been at work? Or answering the phone in my car? That would have made things even more difficult to digest. And if you're asking me to meet at the office at 2 pm anyway, why not tell me to come at 2 pm to review the pathology report and encourage me to bring someone with me? Anywho.......enough on that.
So what do you do when you get news like this? Well when you're a planner like me, you try to figure out what questions to ask. What size is the tumor? Will I have to have chemo? Is it curable? My mind was racing and I could barely write through the tears. I knew I needed a friend to go with me.
That's a tip for anyone beginning the battle with a life long condition. Bring an extra pair of ears with you to key appointments. So much information will be given that you'll need someone to help make sense of it all.
I called two friends who were typically free on Fridays-- one was at work and the other was caring for a loved one. Yikes! It looked like I was going to face this appointment alone.
Still reeling from the news, I called my amazing primary care physician, Dr. Nalda, for some guidance. (For the record, she was equally shocked I received the news via phone! Grrrrr!!). Dr. Nalda listened through the tears, gave me some questions to consider, and most importantly she gave me a mini pep talk to make it to the appointment.
I cried some more, printed some questions from a cancer website, grabbed my notebook and left for my appointment. No Bob Evans for me--- I had cancer to deal with. And thankfully a friend was able to go the appointment with me.
That call on September 29th altered my life. If you've received a cancer diagnosis I'm sure you would agree. My life as I knew it was interrupted but thankfully the story doesn't end there.
If you are facing a cancer diagnosis, you may feel angry, sad, disappointed or a variety of other emotions. It's all okay. When you're ready, talk to someone you trust. Don't try to navigate this alone. If you don't have anyone to talk to, I'm here. Seriously. Just email me.