Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the verdict

Feb. 20th. I call my doctor's office in the morning and ask them to get my test results ASAP. I work, wonder, work. Finally at 11am my phone rings at work.

Did anyone call you about your test results?
Can you come in to visit the doctor? (Note: this is never a good sign. Doctors don't make time for face to face visits if you are healthy)
Sure. What time can I get an appointment?
Anytime that works for you. (Ok. Double Note. This is not a good sign at all).

Of course, now I can't think of anything else. I say "Now. I'll be there in 20 minutes."
I leave a note for my work group and head to the clinic.

I'm escorted to one of those little rooms. A little background here. I love my doc. But her assistant is a drill sargeant. Never smiles, always rushes, doesn't seem to care what ails you. Not rude. Just- brusque. I always feel like she doesn't believe that I'm sick. Her name is Maria.

Maria walks in and she is crying. Oh CRAP. It's so bad, it's making Maria cry. I didn't know Maria could cry. Now I am wondering if it would be faster just to call the morgue. Do they close at 5pm like every one else? I'm watching her go through the usual vital signs. She looks at me. I'm silent. She says "You know I can't tell you." Yea, I know.

NOW I'm worried. I was ok until Maria cried. I'm waiting and waiting. Then I notice the pathology report in the little box on the door. Being the nosey busybody with Chicago ethics that I am, I pick it up. I'm a scientist, right? Certainly I can read this and get some reassurance. After all, I spent all of Feb 19th educating myself on breast cancer. That must make me some kind of expert.

Intercystic mmmmmmmmmmm carcinoma....OOPS. My doc is coming, quick, put it back and go in the room.
My doctor comes in balling her eyes out. Oh my God. First Maria, now my doctor. How long do I have? Will I get home for supper?
She starts to talk "I can't believe this, I just can't believe this. I really did not expect this. I feel so terrible."

Unexpectedly, I jump up and put my arms around her to console her. She's a wreck. I tell her "It will be ok, don't cry."

Hey... wait a minute. Uh.... something feels a little backwards here. I pull back and say "Ok, I think we skipped a part. I am going to be ok right? Right?" Please tell me right.
She pulls herself together and almost with nonchalance says "Oh you're going to be fine."

Me - "Ok. So... can we move to scene II where you tell me what is actually wrong. Let's just read it off that paper in your hand and you explain it to me. Then we'll make a plan."

She tells me I have intracystic papillary carcinoma. An extremely rare breast cancer but the best kind you can have. It almost never spreads, grows slowly and almost never reoccurs. My lump was so small everyone was amazed I could feel it. So it was caught very early. She described the treatment and emphasized "You will NOT die from this. You'll die from something. But not from this."

The conversation ends with me letting her know that maybe walking in to see a patient crying her eyes out might just scare someone.

In retrospect, it all seems hilarious. But at the moment, I didn't know if the parachute was going to open.

Next. Jude meets her health care team. You're going to be jealous. My friend was. A nice song to end on.

1 comment:

  1. I would have screamed if I were you! "THATS IT??? YOU CRIED OVER THAT?" Great story!