Make no mistake about it, even a perky voice can be cold. My first response was anger. Couldn’t you have found a better way to tell me?
But anger wouldn’t change a message delivered like a sunny weather report. “They’ve found a mass on the left side, densities in both, things that didn’t show up on the last tests. You need to go back in . . . ”
I said thank you. Kissed my husband and sent him to work. Called the number the nurse had given me. Waited while they kept me on hold. Made an appointment that wasn’t for now. Answers wouldn’t come now.
My mind spent the first hour alternating between a stunned blank and a race through a variety of thoughts I struggled to squelch. Don’t jump to conclusions. I couldn’t focus on the edit I’d been working on, or my own manuscript–or the damn dishes that take no thought whatsoever to return to their shelves.
I spent another hour wondering who to call. This kind of news shouldn’t be delivered to Mom over the phone, especially since I didn’t know anything. My best friend is facing the one-year anniversary of her husband’s violent death. I couldn’t dump this on her. The kids? No, not until I knew something.
Part of me, the Pollyanna part that believes in silver linings and half full and everything’s gonna be all right, wanted to believe just that. Everything’s going to be fine. There are a dozen things this could be.
Name one, said the other part–the one far too aware of my family’s medical history.
Pollyanna was effectively silenced.
The next few days, I hid in fiction. My book. Steven James’s book. Movies on TV. I was handling it.
Until this morning. For some reason, my stomach had tied itself in knots when I woke up. I finally broke my code of silence and wrote a few friends–my solid-gold cyberpals–and requested their prayers. I called my BFF, who, in spite of her own pain, was able to boost me a bit. I was better when we reached the clinic, but the knots returned and stayed through the second series of X-rays and the ultrasound. While we waited for the doctor’s verdict, I clamped MSB’s hand at least as tightly as he was grasping mine. We’d both been exchanging words of encouragement all week. “It’s going to be okay. Everything’s going to be fine.” I guess that means he’s a Pollyanna, too.
Well, sometimes Pollyanna is right, and today turned out to be one of those times. I go back in six months just to be sure, but all those ominous words little Miss Perky spewed at the beginning of the week turned out to be nothing. The “mass” is a cyst. Everything else is just nothing–at least not anything to worry about.
I don’t know whether I’ll tell Mom about my false alarm or mention it to the kids. I’m ready to resume my life and my plans without this hanging over me. I don’t want to think about it again. Ever.