April 24, 2017.

Just another Monday. Get up, make coffee, go to work and do everything I can to keep my brain from worrying about the test results. I won't even know anything until Tuesday or Wednesday, so I'll just keep doing what I do, and wait. Turns out the word wait will become a frequent word in my life. Hurry up... and... wait.

My day is done, I'm driving home and then, there it is... my Dr.'s phone number on my phone. Shocked at how fast UCLA had processed my biopsy, I answer. She can hear that I'm driving, so she says she'll call me back in twenty minutes. I know... If it were good news, she would have told me.

I get home and wait. Wait for the phone to ring. Finally, 45 minutes later, it rings. I'm sitting at the dining room table. She starts by asking me not to search Google for any words she is about to use. That it will not be helpful right now. She tells me it is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Invasive, what? It's Estrogen positive, unclear on progesterone and she'll know more about HER2 by Wednesday. I have no idea what half of it really means, I only know it adds up to one word... cancer.

She continues... it's the most common type, treatable, caught early... and on she goes. I keep taking notes. If I just keep writing what she is saying, then everything will be okay. We set-up an appointment for Wednesday the 26th so she can go through the rest of the report with me when she gets more information. I'll have an MRI on Thursday and will figure out where I'll get treatment when I see her. 

This is the moment. The switch is officially flipped. I simultaneously freak the fuck out and see my life flash by and realize that I really like my life, and I want more of it. It was an interesting moment, for sure! Then I cry, scream and make myself nauseous. I can't even think about trying to eat dinner. My husband finally gets me to eat half a sandwich. Then I decide to call my friend who went through this twenty years ago and who is pragmatic and all about taking action. 

My friend answers, I'm bawling (I will learn later that she thought I was about to tell her that my husband an I were splitting up. Well, thank goodness that wasn't the topic!). I tell her, and she says, "Okay, now you know, and now you can take care of it." She goes on to say that this moment will be one of the hardest. The next two weeks, when I don't know much but am getting lots of tests, will require patience and waiting and knowing it will get better. 

My friend helped set the tone as I moved forward. I felt so much better knowing I was not alone, that I'd joined a club full of survivors and people who also had to get it done and move forward. 

I hung up the phone and went to bed. I awoke in the morning and for a few minutes I'd forgotten everything. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks and I cried. Then I got dressed, made coffee and on the way into work I called to confirm my MRI appointment. 

Then I walked through the world looking at people while thinking... they have no idea. I have breast cancer and everything seems normal, but it's anything but. 

 

One week before the call, I saw the most amazing flower display at Carrizo Plain National Monument

One week before the call, I saw the most amazing flower display at Carrizo Plain National Monument