Waiting is hard for anyone. People get upset and on edge just waiting in line. I often tell my husband, “Have patience; your turn will come soon.” It’s hard to be patient, especially when you just want to get out of the store or place you are waiting at.
It’s even harder waiting for results from a biopsy. It is so hard that it is emotionally painful. Many thoughts fill your mind, scenarios play out like a movie, and each time your phone rings you jump. You lie awake at night and your nerves become on edge.
I had my biopsy on May 23. The nurse told me I would get a call with the results within two to five business days. Others who had biopsies told me they heard within two days. I hoped I to would hear within two days. I counted the days. Thursday and Friday went by and no phone call. My insides turned inside out and my thoughts raced.
Why haven’t they called? Does no news mean good news? Damn it, ring phone, ring. How will I handle it if it’s cancer? What if I’m home alone when they call? They haven’t called so it has to be good news, right? Oh damn, there’s a holiday on Monday. I’ll have to wait longer for the results. I can’t do this. I can’t be patient. What will I do to keep from worrying about it? How will I make it through a long weekend?
Saturday I went to work like usual. I felt a deep sadness in me. I felt hopeless and lost. The lines at the grocery store where I work were as endless along as my thoughts. I felt an ache deep in my heart. I looked at my boss rushing around. Tears welled up in my eyes. Tell her you need to go home. Tell her you can’t do this right now and you’re not strong enough. Tell her you’re depressed and you think you’re losing control of your mental illness.
Then the positive voice took over. Stop it, Aimee. You can do this. You’re not losing control and you’re not going to let your illness take over. You can handle this.
I swallowed my tears and took a deep breath and muttered, “I am strong and I am a fighter. Whatever the results are, I will handle it and rise above it. Besides I DON’T HAVE CANCER. I’ll keep saying that until my insides stop churning.”
Saturday night I talked to my husband’s cousin. She was positive and reaffirming. Her words were comforting and my anguish lifted a little bit. Then Sunday came. I felt a little bit stronger to handle the day. After work I went to my parents and spent the night so I could participate in the Memorial Day picnic with my Grandma who is in a nursing home. My husband went home because he had to work. I tried hard not to look at my watch and count the hours until bed and another day. I talked with my parents and watched television.
Thoughts nagged at me. Is it cancer? If it’s cancer, will I get very sick? How will Lou and I pay bills if I can’t work? What will happen to me? Lou has loss so many people to cancer, how could I put him through it again? Who’s going to take care of Lou if I’m sick? My chest felt like someone was punching it from the inside. My body ached all over. That night I called Lou before going to sleep. Like usual he told me everything would be ok and stay positive. He told me to journal. So I journaled, “I DON’T HAVE CANCER,” along with all my feelings.
Monday went by pretty well. Grandma wasn’t feeling well so we ended our picnic early and had the nurses put Grandma in bed. Then I sat at my parents’ house relaxing until Lou came. Then Tuesday came and still no results. I became very on edge. The thoughts began to race even more. So after work I journaled and did some coloring in my adult coloring book. I messaged friends to pray I would get an answer the next day. Again I wrote, “I DON’T HAVE CANCER” in my journal.
Wednesday I decided I would call and find out if they got my results. I called at 11:00 a.m., and the nurse told me they had my results and the doctor would call me back. I kept my phone in my hand. I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t miss the call. Lou took me to lunch and we took our dog to get her nails cut. It was 1:00 p.m. and still nothing. We headed to my parents a half hour away so my father could work on my car.
I sat and talked with my mom while Lou helped my dad. 2:00 p.m. came and I called again. The nurse said the doctor was on the phone and he would call me right back. So I glanced at my phone waiting for it to ring. My stomach churned. I had to keep going to the bathroom. Instead of my nerves making me throw up, I had diarrhea. My muscles tensed and my shoulders began to hurt along with my head.
Ring, damn phone. Why aren’t they calling me back? I can’t believe the doctor isn’t calling me. What is taking so long? I’m not mentally strong enough to handle this. I’m going to have a mental break down. I worked so hard to reach recovery from my mental illness and now I’m falling apart.
3:00 p.m. came and still no phone call. I called again and yet again the nurse said the doctor would call me back. I felt so sick that it felt like I had suddenly caught a rare flu. My muscles tensed more and my head began to scream in pain. By 3:30 p.m. the phone finally rang. The words, “You have breast cancer,” filled my ears while tears spilled from my eyes. I couldn’t think straight. I texted Lou to come in the house right away and he rushed in. We cried in each other’s arms.
Now while I wait to find out what my course of treatment will be, I write in my journal, “I WILL BEAT CANCER.” Each day I will work on focusing on the positive and to continuing to maintain my mental health. Because I am in the light of recovery from my mental illness, I know I am strong enough to beat cancer. Taking care of me and being positive will keep me in the light of recovery from mental illness and will lead me to the light of recovery from breast cancer.