I recently read that the average person hears 30,000 words a day. That doesn’t include repeat words. Insanity. Having 6 kids I hear allot of words a day. Quite frankly, I hear some crazy things on the regular. “Mommy, Mateo is eating something that looks like poop!”.
Most of the times the words go in one ear, I process, and then out the other. But once in a while there is a sentence here and there that is forged in your mind forever. Your first “I love you”, or “Will you marry me?”. Then, for me there was “It’s a girl”, and “It’s a girl”, and “It’s a girl”, and “It’s a girl” and finally, “It’s twins! A girl and a BOY!!!”. Aaaaahhh! Of course, we can’t only hear good, there is always a balance.
Before I even walked into the clinic I knew deep down that it wasn’t good, call it intuition. “Hopefully it’s just a cyst”, family said, but at this point I’d collected enough knowledge from my frenemy “Google” to know it wasn’t all okay. I walked into my appointment with my primary physician. She greeted me kindly and asked why I was there. She’d been following my progress with the PPD and it was nice to see a friendly face who also knew my history.
She gave me a thorough physical, “Rut, dis doesn’t look good, hopefully it’s not serious but I’m going to send you to get a mammography and an ultrasound next week. Also some blood work”. Well then, let the poking and prodding begin. From that point forward I was at the mercy of the Israeli health services. That usually is a very slow moving train so I figured I’d have some time to let it soak in. A week later I had my mammography which resembles a torture device from the medieval times (aside from all the fancy buttons). It smashes your dirty pillows into pancakes and I wondered if they would ever be the same, I say this after nursing six children, mind you. On I went to a sonogram across the hall. The sono clinician stared at the screen with a dumbfounded facial expression, she reminded me of a deer in headlights. Quickly she turns to her senior who was the radiologist on staff. He was an older man, and he was obviously not new to the game. After a few strokes, and a few measurements he calmly explained that the mass was large and abnormal looking and he wants me to come to his other office where he was equipped for a biopsy… tomorrow. Now, that may seem normal to peeps back in the states but here, when your pushed ahead of the “lines” and when you get special attention, it’s scary. We normally have to wait for services, to beg, cry and bribe… Naaah, not really (cry maybe). But I was pretty shaken up. After the appointment, I stood in the parking lot with my husband and mother, I was in a state of disbelief.
When I was going through the worst of the PPD it felt like time stood still, the sadness and confusion made minutes feel like hours. Sure enough, time sped up again as my heart healed. And then, again, a halt. Waiting for the biopsy results was tormenting. A couple weeks later, I receive a phone call from my doctor. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the caller ID. I called Ian out to the porch with me as I answered the phone. “Hi Rut, I know you’ve been waiting for the results so I wanted to call you right away. I’m sorry to tell you over the phone but I thought you wouldn’t want to wait”.
And then she said it.
She started saying something about how the cancer was the best type I could get but I handed the phone to Ian and just blanked. He listened carefully, and then told the doctor he’d call her back. When he hung up, we hugged, and I cried. The unknown flooded my brain, “will I need chemo, radiation, surgery? How do I tell the kids? Omg, who’s gonna care for the twins through this?”.
I lay in bed that night. Scared, worried, and sad. Like a bolt of lightning the sadness turned to anger. “What the f*%= did I do to deserve this shit?! Hasn’t this year been hard enough? I’m finally healing.” My life scale seemed to tip over onto the ‘bad stuff’ side in that moment. Ian reassured me that we would get through this, he repeated that the Doc had said, “It is the best kind of breast cancer, DCIS, It’s treatable”. Whatever the hell that meant.
I decided, I was NOT going to die. I would get through it. And most of all, I refuse to allow myself to feel the sadness I felt during my post natal depression. That sadness was a lie, it was a trick my body played on me. This was real, only I had the control of staying as positive as possible. The PPD put the Cancer diagnosis on a grade curve for me. Knowing it was curable was essential obviously. With the PPD I wasn’t sure I’d ever heal. Don’t get me wrong, I allowed myself to feel; to cry, and be scared but not to drown in sorrow. Ian and I would listen to our medical advisors, collect information and get it done. So the journey to health began, yet again.