A Letter To The Lump In My Breast
I made my first mistake with you when I Googled you. Never do that. The doctor confirmed this with me during our appointment. He got to meet you too.
At first, I had hoped you were simply a figment of my over-active imagination. I introduced you to my partner. He felt you too. Since then I have hoped that you are a cyst or some kind of humongous deep zit- the first wish of it’s sort.
We were staying in a hotel, the night before last, when you started making my right breast ache. As he confirmed your existence, my mind raced back to a form I needed to mail in. I was in danger of losing my Medicaid benefits at my own hand instead of the ominous chubby fingers of the Imbecile in Chief. I’m such a fucking dumbass, I thought.
The plane ride home didn’t feel nearly as nerve-wracking as the two and half hour flight out. I found myself playing sick games based around you in my head. Would you rather have cancer or plunge to a fiery death from forty-thousand feet? I was told I was an ideal passenger by the pleasant flight attendant.
The next morning I called to find out if I was still covered. Suddenly the voices over the phone were being helpful, courteous, and getting me answers very rapidly. Within minutes I had an appointment scheduled for the following afternoon.
As if simply saying your name, Lump, was enough to soften the busiest, most overburdened, professionals.
I went to see my partner’s family- his father just home from a quadruple bypass. I had dinner with my adoptive family, with my mother who still mourns the loss of my best friend and her son. I ordered a salad without cheese. She said “I want to eat unhealthy so I can join him soon.” Her grief a blinding, searing light so bright it cancels out nearly all her happiness.
She asked me when my partner is going to propose to me (she is a desi mom, they are very concerned). I told her she’d have to stay around to find out and to take care of our eventual adopted mixed babies. As long as this is a fucking pimple and not a death sentence. I think, glad that I’ve already decided not to share my genetics.
She feels utterly alone in her pain, and I cannot relate. I feel selfish in fearing for my own life, knowing that true aguish is living through the loss of those dearest. The opposite of the sweet release of death.
The next day at the clinic the reception secretary was warm, unlike her distant mannerisms during my previous visit (I remembered her extensive and beautiful tattoo work). She quickly got my insurance on the phone to authorize a change in my primary care provider so I could been seen immediately. She called me “hunny” as I walked away.
The nurse was attentive, asking me questions about my diet and family history. He was impressed with my low blood pressure, athletic pulse and heart rate, and low bmi (that number’s bullshit anyway). He took note of my slightly elevated temperature. He told me to have a wonderful day.
The doctor was in my room quickly to finally confirm your status with a few tender prods; dear Lump, you do exist. He shared my hope that you are some end-of-the-world sized pimple imbedded in my right breast.
He didn’t have much else to say about you, other than an order for an ultrasound and a follow up appointment next week. He said I should call today, the sooner I got in the sooner I could have results. He walked with me to the front desk to set the appointment, something a medicaid doctor has never done in my experience.
The receptionist (again warmed by your magical presence) told me he was their best doctor and they’d all be sad when he left soon. He was moving on to better things after residency, probably a position that pays well. He had a great bedside manner, and what I might be mistaking for a look of actual concern in his eyes.
I called the number I was given and an apologetic receptionist set an appointment for the day after tomorrow. I returned home and Googled you more.
I texted my mother about my Great Aunt’s mastectomy. I contacted my father about losing his mother early to breast cancer. I searched hereditary and demographic specific cancers and pre-cancers that presented with painful round lumps by the milk ducts. I didn’t like most of the results.
So I must now wait, with multiple possibilities, comparing statistics and facts. There’s an eighty-percent chance it’s non-cancerous. I’m at a higher risk for an aggressive type because of my age and background; those years of smoking and eating garbage still elevating my risks. The low-grade fever and family history factoring in at strange angles.
But there is no point in stressing. Hopefully, you are nothing but a scary little bubble of worry. If you are instead a more aggressive foe, I will fight you and accept the chance that I may lose. Either way, there is never been a better reason to enjoy today, be grateful for those I love, hold my incredible partner close, appreciate the breeze on my face, and pet the warm fur of my Oni cat.
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