The words lingered in the air, like a submarine’s missile hovering just above the water before it ignites and blasts across the sky. Then, like the missile, they came crashing down around me, bouncing around in my head, making any other conversation nothing more than an automaton.
Five days later I sat in an examining room, waiting for the doctor to reappear with his verdict. The door opened, he slid in and sat down. “Well, you have a tumor. It may not be, but it’s probably cancer.”
And there went that damned hovering missile again. Huh? What? Cancer? Unh uh. Not me. Me? I tried to focus on his explanations while he pulled out a drawing of a human colon/rectum/anus and starting drawing – which consisted of a round ball at the opening of my anus. It looked like a mighty big ball. I hoped that was just for effect. He finished talking (what had he said?) and asked, “Do you want this?” The paper fluttered in the air conditioning. “Uh, no.” He tossed it in a drawer and closed it. Wait a minute. If I’d known you were going to leave it there, I would’ve at least thrown it in my own garbage can. He bustled me out to the nurses’ desk and told someone to set me up an appointment for a colonoscopy and biopsy.
From there, I walked out to my car, climbed inside, called my fiance, and cried. “He said I have cancer,” I wailed. Then, on the way home, the anger set in. Who the hell was he to waltz in that room and tell me I “probably” have cancer? He doesn’t know me. He can’t tell that with one little exam. He’s wrong. That’s all there is to it. He’s just wrong.
And that got me through the next two weeks, through a CT scan, the colonoscopy (which, despite what you’ve heard, really isn’t the end of the world – no pun intended), and through the waiting. I’ve learned that while “stat” to me means NOW, in the medical profession it’s anything from “now” to “before the patient drops dead”. Guess I wasn’t in any danger of doing that at the moment.
So when I sashayed my non-cancerous little butt back to the doc for his apology for scaring the crap out of me (pun intended) and he said, “Well, you have a squamous cell carcinoma,” the first thing I thought was, “That’s skin cancer. What the hell is he talking about?” But indeed I do. Right in my butt. The size of a golf ball, no less.
I didn’t go through the “why me”, but I did go through the “how could everyone have failed to notice a golf ball in my butt before it got to be a golf ball?” It’s not like I haven’t had any of “those” exams.
And how embarrassing! Now, not only do I have cancer, I have anal cancer? Who’s ever heard of that? And I’m supposed to tell people this? I don’t even like telling people I have a hangnail. So, I didn’t tell anyone, except my fiance, my two children, my sister and my best friend. Of course, my fiance and sister told everyone, so now everyone exponentially knows. But it’s okay. I get cards in the mail and chocolate. 🙂
Back to Trudy – I’ve since had a PET scan, which detects “hot” spots (cancer), and the cancer has not spread beyond Trudy. That was great news. I’ve started radiation and chemo, (more on that to follow), and I’m still working and doing laundry. Life pretty much goes on. My daughter informed me that she was “moving home” to take care of me – I think she’s disappointed I haven’t needed any taking care of yet. My son’s coming up from Charleston to visit this week. So there are some bonuses to all this. And I feel very confident with the excellent medical care I’m getting.
Alas, poor Trudy. Your days are numbered!
…to be continued…