Day 2- Day of Diagnosis
I didn’t get much sleep, for one thing my chest was really sore from the biopsy, and I was too nervous to sleep. I got up early, fed the animals, cleaned the litter box, tried to forget about what was happening today by completing mundane tasks. I went back to bed because I felt exhausted. I did manage to get a couple more hours of sleep.
Andy and I tried to watch mindless TV waiting for the phone call. It was difficult. He was sweet and decided to stay home with me. I don’t know how I would have told him had he not been sitting next to me when I got the news. The phone call came in just after 11:30am- glad it was earlier in the day as they said it could be anytime before 5:00pm. The woman told me she was calling from the breast health center, duh, and she said, “I have your biopsy results if you can give me your date of birth,” I said 12-10-85, and she immediately said, “unfortunately, we did find cancer…” I stopped hearing anything after that. I was reaching for paper which Andy placed in my hand along with a pen. I finally managed to ask something to the effect of “what is it?” and she gave me the name “invasive ductal carcinoma,” she also attempted to explain that it was “grade 3,” although I didn’t catch what she said when she tried to explain what that meant. The phone went dead. WTF. I never drop calls. It was an excruciating minute or so before she called back. I was able to show Andy what I had written down, which was scribbled in a shaky fashion on the back of some random envelop. I could see the panic in his eyes and all he could say was, “Fuck.” The woman called back, I am fairly certain she had already told me her name at least 2x, but I still couldn’t remember it at that point. She said I could meet with the surgeon on Thursday at 3:45pm, which was his earliest appointment. I asked her to review everything she had already told me so that I could write it down since I had failed to do so the first time. Poor Linda, she must feel so unheard/misunderstood at times, hopefully she doesn’t take it personally. I asked her for her name….again, and demoralizingly asked her what she does at the breast health center. She told me she is the nurse practitioner, and she gave me her direct phone number should I have further questions. I think she is used to people not hearing much during these types of conversations, so it was really helpful for her to provide a direct contact to her.
We decided we should tell my parents sooner, rather than later. Andy called my dad, who didn’t answer right away. But he called back shortly after and Andy broke the news quickly and efficiently. My dad asked all the questions I expected as I shoved the scribbled on envelop into Andy's hand prior to him answering the phone. He has been through this a couple of times with mom. He knows what to ask. My mom called me after an indeterminate amount of time, we basically just cried back and forth and I think I muttered a few intelligible words, we ended with I love you.
The next few hours were a blur. I cried a lot. We googled a few things about the grade 3 status and just some general information about invasive ductal carcinoma. We quickly realized without additional information about the size of the tumor, the stage, etc. it was just a guessing game that was more nerve wracking than fun. So, we stopped that. After I couldn’t cry anymore, we started thinking about work situations and school. That was one of my first thoughts after I heard it was cancer, after, “I don’t want to loose my hair,” I uttered, “What am I going to do about school?!” Andy expertly steered me to a more neutral thought and said we have to figure out what this is and how to treat it first, then we can worry about school. Let’s not make any decisions right now. What a guy.
I vaguely remember going for a walk, the weather was nice, 45 degrees and sunny, the snow was melting. Felt almost like spring! We talked a bit on the walk in a more positive light. I felt better, almost relieved. Except for the whole waiting to know exactly what was going on until Thursday piece. I tried not to think about it.