Sunday, September 30, 2007

Eve of a Biopsy

Eve of a Biopsy

Tomorrow morning I’m having a biopsy done. My uterine lining has thickened when it should have thinned. I’ve been feeling lousy for a couple of months, so something must be going on down there. I haven’t been privy to the information, however. A teenaged gyn is going to have to tell me. Odd, isn’t it? That so often we are the last to know exactly what is happening in our own bodies. There are ultra sound techs, radiologists, pathologists, nurses, and doctors who all get the news before we do. They’ll take a sample of the tissue tomorrow, but it will still be days before I know the result. Maybe another whole week will go by.

I wouldn’t mind waiting if it weren’t for the inevitable mind games. Because I haven’t been feeling well, I don’t tell myself, “Shoot, it won’t be anything.” I want there to be some information out of all of this-information that will lead to my feeling better.

I also say, “You know that this will at least mean a hysterectomy, so there will be _ _ _ _ _time out for surgery and recovery." Then, there is the, “Oh God, what if they want me to go through radiation and chemo, and my hair falls out and I’m sick all the time for months? In and out of various medical venues, shlepping around? Ycch.”

The fatalist in me gets some prime time, too. “You have cancer everywhere, dear, and will be dead in six weeks, tops.” If I follow that thought path for more than a few seconds, I can actually get cheerful about it. You know, thoughts of spending the money set aside for older age on a fabulous cruise and flamboyant living. That’s tricky, though. For that line of perusal to work, I have to be feeling good for the duration of the “living in the lap of luxury,” portion of life left to me. I want to be looking my best, too, as I cruise the Aegean or the Scandinavian fjords.

Okay, I think-I’ll just stock up on painkillers and symptom relievers so that I’ll feel fine while dying. Oh. Shit. I didn’t mean to actually write that. Silly me. Of course, it won’t come to that. Of course the biopsy will indicate an annoying course of life-saving measures that will assure me my old age allotment. Which is what we are supposed to want, right? Long life at all costs? At all costs? All costs?

Must I think that is what I want? Will the health police shackle me to an IV pole if I politely refuse to pursue the dream of a healthy, happy old age, via a miserable, indeterminate time of abominable, noxious, treatment? I don’t have children to worry about or worry. And honestly, I can’t love the people I love any more or in a better fashion than I already do, so I’ve clear-sailing, conscience-wise, as far as they go.

I wonder if the thoughts I’m having about it all are quite normal. My inclination is to think that people do think this way on the eve of a biopsy. Never mind how foolish I’ll feel when I get the news, as I surely will, “Oh, nothing to worry about-just a little this or that. Take two aspirin and see me again in three weeks, but please don’t call.”

If they say the other thing, will I have the courage to beg off treatment? Even if the odds are bad, I think we are all expected to say, “Yes, doctor. Do with me what you will.”
I might much rather say, “Right. I’ll just take a prescription or two, get them filled, and enjoy a wonderful change of season. Autumn can be so beautiful.”

I’m kind of curious about what might be beyond the veil of this life. I can’t conceive of emptiness, so I’m really not expecting it. I can’t imagine myself not being, so I’m not afraid of that. I’m dead certain that if we are all indeed going through some kind of preliminaries, the Main Event will be well-worth the training, the waiting, the practise, and that those flashes of brilliance we've all experienced, however briefly, are trailers for the brilliance that is to come.


Margot Miller said...

OH, Nonnie
Your feelings and all the what if-ing and going over the options are entirely normal. Entirely human, and I wish I knew you in person and could be there. Knowing that you have loved well and continue to do so is the best thing to take for pain.
Hugs and prayers.

Martin Heavisides said...

My mother declined treatment at the end, but I'm pretty sure at your age she would have sought it. In her case they couldn't promise her a fair shot at even five years, only a few additional months at best. We'll keep our fingers crossed in any case, and hope you don't have to make any such decision.