“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” -Alan Watts
The diagnosis was difficult, no hiding from that. Yet how do you quantify the brilliance of a radiologist who thinks she sees something on a mammogram, doesn’t blow it off, doesn’t do the “come back in 6 months” routine, but insists on more films. Says she needs them magnified 100-fold to see if she really did see something (which she did, God bless her eagle eyes). How do you thank such a woman? I really think my week-later thank-you note was small potatoes. How do I put in words, how does the English language contain sufficient verbiage to say you saved my life by finding a needle in the haystack of my breast tissue? There’s nothing sufficient, I tell you, although I tried.
And almost immediately I had true warriors on my side. My partners rallied, getting me into a comprehensive cancer center – one of less than 20 nationally – that we’re blessed to have in our small town of less than 260,000.
I was introduced to a surgeon there who, though she’s esteemed nationally and is undoubtedly at the very apex of her surgical game, was candid (and empathetic) enough to acknowledge that this plain sucks. And who didn’t bat an eye when I asked her to research whether it was safe to do my wrist tattoo now (she cheekily suggested an ankle ‘tat instead). There is no way to thank her adequately. The surgery she performed is for another post at another time, but suffice it to say, knowing she was steering the bus was profound, calming, and confidence-building.