Wednesday. 9:38pm. I arrive home from photography class and Tim is home.
I hadn’t seen him since Sunday night – he’d left for Sydney at 5:00am on Monday and being a bad wife I hadn’t woken up to say goodbye.
He says, not as soon as I walk in the door you must realise, ‘you have an appointment with your breast surgeon on Monday’.
My hands start to pick at non-existent fluff on the couch and I feel my insides begin to wobble like a poorly set jelly.
Are you okay, Tim asks.
I am discombobulated, I reply.
I don’t know the dictionary definition of that word but it feels like it fits. Discomforted, uneasy, thrown for a loop (is that even an expression?), discomposed.
I’d obviously made the appointment some time ago, but had forgotten. And in the being reminded of it I felt discombobulated.
Is it a check-up, Tim asks.
Yep, I reply.
Yep. It’s a check up. But it’s also a reminder, one I obviously hadn’t prepared myself for, of cancer. Of having had breast cancer earlier this year. Of having had surgery and radiotherapy treatment, and of being horrified that this had happened to me.
Yes, my breast is still discoloured and there’s a bruise-like stain where the lump was removed, and under my arm is still numb, and my breast hurts when I walk, so yes, there’s the constant reminders. But I can/have disassociated them from having had cancer. They’re just part of life now.
But seeing the breast surgeon – the reminder of that – is different somehow.
It’s not over.
This cancer – and I really don’t want to call it a journey – but this cancer thing isn’t over. No, it’s more than that. The fear is there because it happened in the first place. And more than fear, there’s a horror that it happened at all.
The fear/horror lurks somewhere and I’m never sure when it’s going to make itself known.
Driving to photography class for the first class back after the break, it made itself known. I’d continued attending class all through my treatment and I hadn’t realised there was an association in my head/body/gut between class and treatment, but anxiety crept over me as I headed to class that first day back. I was stuck in traffic and couldn’t pull over to settle myself, so I called my sister instead. She provided a good distraction.
I couldn’t go to work on Thursday – couldn’t settle, the fear again making itself known as I thought about the appointment with the breast surgeon. Deb noticed I was home and called me. Was I okay?
I called the surgeon’s office on Friday to ask if the appointment was real – although I didn’t ask that particular question – and I was assured it was.
I remain discombobulated.
Too many questions for me to feel anything else.
I’m sure all will be settled on Monday.
That’s my hope at least.