The goal of the next surgery was clean margins – that means they have to ensure they take out ALL the cancerous tissue, plus a little tiny bit more so there isn’t one little cancer cell left. Kind of like the way really fussy people cut the fat off of their steaks. Also, they took out the very first, sentinel, lymph node, plus the next 3 in line.
After more waiting, I learned they’d found the teensiest little bit of cancer in the sentinel node, but the next 3 were okey-dokey as far as anyone could tell. This meant that I’d need chemo and radiation but would probably live happily ever after. But, yes, I’ll lose my hair. He said, oddly, that’s often the hardest part. Oddly, he’s right. I know it’s just hair and losing it is so much better than losing everything, but it’s just a whole new dimension in nakedness.
I love hair. I’ve always loved hair (on heads). When I went to rock concerts, I liked to sit in the bleachers between bands watching all the heads of hair walk across the floor below. And I know we women tend to complain about our hair. I’d always wished for a little more wave, but I had recognized by my 30’s that I’d been follicly blessed always. I mean, my hair wasn’t too thin, or too curly. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a close as one could reasonably wish for.
The stages of grief are: Disbelief/Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
Bargaining is not possible unless you have someone to bargain with. I’m agnostic. Sometimes life is so incredibly wonderful and nature so beautiful that I can’t imagine it’s the result of random coincidences. Other times, I look at the evidence for evolution, contemplate the possibilities of zillions of varied attempts over billions of years, and I look at the senseless cruelty and say this can’t be anything but accidental. I’m pretty sure there’s no hell. There’s no reason for it. To the extent it exists, it must be here on earth, so to have another after death would be redundant. Anyway, I just talk myself into circles, but while I was waiting to learn whether I’d live or die, I figured I could use a friend in high places. Even if He was imaginary, it wouldn’t do any harm, and I was sure it would probably do me some good personally and He might just be real and have a really elaborate plan that he’ll let us know about someday.
In my talks with God, I didn’t ask why me. Someone has to get cancer, I reckon, so why NOT me. Even if I had to go at 40, the life I’d had was much better than expected, so I couldn’t complain. I did offer, however, that I thought the world was better off with me than without me. And in October of 2004, I told Him one more thing, “ I realize I don’t get to call the shots on this one, but if you take me and leave George W. Bush in the White House, I’m gonna be PISSED!”
So I’m still here and W’s still there. If you believe in God, but not W, I guess you can blame me. Still, I won’t apologize.
Next: I feel sorry for anyone who pities me.