I can’t claim to be a very timely person. I feel like there is a 15 minute grace period in almost all situations. My husband is now pulling the old “we need to be there at 5:00”, when we actually need to be there at 5:30. We’ve almost missed flights, boats, appointments and the surprise part of a surprise party because of my internal clock.
However, when my doctor told me to call him at 3:00 pm for my test results, you better believe not a second after 3:00 pm went by before I called. He was too good to record a voicemail greeting, so all I got was an automated monotone male telling me that no one was available to take my call. I decided to give him a little space and didn’t try calling again until 3:04. Then 3:07. Then 3:08. Somewhere between 3:11 and 3:16, my husband suggested that we get out of the house. He also recommended giving my trigger finger a rest and leaving my phone behind so I wouldn’t be tempted to leave the sound of my grinding teeth on his voicemail.
The day was beautiful and we walked our daughter over to a park that sits right above the beach. It was a needed break from my anxiety and the people watching was better than tv. It was one of those rare situations with no phones, no camera, no technology of any kind. It felt freeing until one of the worst/best things happened.
We had sat our little girl on the grass to pick through dirt and bugs. The next thing we know, she’s up on her two chubby feet and proceeds to walk for the very first time! She walked all the way over to a far more interesting section of the park, adorned with teenage girl’s iPhones, candy wrappers and probably cigarette butts. My husband and I sat stunned, watching our little girl cross such a big milestone. I inform him that I might as well not finish her baby book since I can’t document this momentous event. I’m really looking for any reason to get out of listing every present she received at her baby shower.
We returned home at 5:00 pm with enormous Cheshire grins on our faces and a baby girl who is quickly growing out of the baby stage. We each have 5 missed calls and a text asking us to call my doctor back. I sat down with a pad of paper and pen and quickly hit redial. He answered and in an easy, conversational tone, informed me that I have stage 2 breast cancer. He continued in this friendly manner, telling me that it’s the most common type, it’s not growing too quickly and my chances of survival are excellent. I remember asking questions and assuming a friendly demeanor also, as if we were discussing restaurant choices for dinner. After a lengthy conversation, we ended the call and I looked down at my pad of paper that was meant to hold all the information from our call. Instead, I doodled chains of bubbles and wrote my name in different scripts. I realized I was terrible at cursive and fantastic at 5th grader penmanship.
He had no concrete answers about the next steps in surgery and treatment. My next job was to find an oncologist that came recommended from doctors I trusted. I added “sincere” and “exudes good energy” to the list of necessary requirements. My sleep that night was surprisingly sound. There was nothing for my brain to try to work out. I knew I had cancer and I knew I would get through it. I knew I had a husband that would move mountains for me, as well as rub my feet on a daily basis. I knew that I had a kick-ass daughter. I drifted off with the memory of her wobbly first steps and felt a quiet peace come over me.