“To be optimistic about something that is absolutely unknown to you is unfounded.” ~Rachel Cusk

The two-mile drive home felt like an eternity.

I decided right then that I would not tell my mom and sister until I knew a lot more, or until I had to, and furthermore I decided I was not going to do any research on the Internet. Period.

Growing up, just about anyone I knew that had cancer, died of cancer. I have cancer. Hence, logic and rationality be damned, I was going to die of cancer. And, actually, I very well may die of cancer.

The car was very quiet. Inanna did not know what to say and I am sure she was trying to process this as I was. We had very little information, only knowing that we would have the biopsy results in a few days and a surgeon’s office would call this week.

When I got home, the first thing I did was kiss Pearlsky (my 25 year old severely disabled daughter) and lie down on my bed. It was quiet, and I have recently learned that quiet is not so good. What will happen to Pearlsky when I am gone? Am I prepared to die? There is so much to do logistically. And what about my mother? How will she deal with this? I can’t believe this is it. Fuck.

The next evening I gave a talk in a school district about 40 minutes away. The drive home was on a dark somewhat winding road, and it was raining. I was trying to follow my GPS, watch the road, and not get killed. Yep, and not get killed. The car was quiet, the road was dark, and I was thinking of the irony of that. Anyone of us can die at any time, and on some level we know that (at least after age 16 or so, until then we are invincible). The difference is, I probably know how I am going to die, and I have a better idea of the time frame. Logically I knew that I actually knew nothing, other than I wanted this thing out of me. Yesterday.

Dr. Z called the next day and asked how I was doing. “Crappy” was my only retort. He told me the biopsy is back and that the tumor is “low grade.” “Is that good or bad?” I asked. “Definitely better than high grade. The surgeon’s office will call soon.”

Ok, the first good news! My cancerous tumor is low grade! YES! So I pick up the phone to call and tell mom the good news … then I remember she does not know the bad news. And I am not about to tell her. Oh well, I text Inanna and distract myself from thinking that every ache and pain I have is a secondary tumor.

This is Dr. C’s office, from the Colon and Rectal Surgery Group. We have an appointment scheduled for you for May 9th at 2:00 with Dr. C, Dr. A and Dr. P. You are scheduled for a CT scan at 8:00 AM the same day and an MRI at 10:00.

I went with my closest friend to her first meeting with the surgeon for her breast cancer. I remember it well, the radiologist, the surgeon, and the reconstructive plastic surgeon. I did not ask who the other doctors I would be meeting were, somehow I didn’t think I was getting breast reconstruction. But one can hope.

Here is all I knew:

There you have it. I have two weeks to wait for any more tests and to learn what is happening. It is a good time to curl into a ball and let my imagine to crazy. Or I can be proactive.

Hey, want to see my tattoo?


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2 thoughts on ““To be optimistic about something that is absolutely unknown to you is unfounded.” ~Rachel Cusk

  1. I had a very similar diagnosis of colon cancer in 2013. The area of the colon looks to be the same. About year and a half later I had a stage 2 breast cancer removed followed by Chemo. I’m in remission from both now.

    At the time of my colon cancer I was about to turn 51 (my only risk factor-over 50), I was not a smoker, ate mostly vegetarian and had no family history of cancer. The minute I got the diagnosis my first thought was about the trauma I’d gone through exactly one year earlier. I’ve done a lot of research about the connection between cancer and emotions, so it didn’t surprise me. Perhaps what Pearlsky experienced gave your immune system a hit that it couldn’t handle.

    If you ever want to talk about the surgery, recovery, Chemo, any of it…email me. Sending you strength and love.

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