Watch Out for the Big Girl

Last Thursday I walked back into the doctor's office expecting to hear I was in a progressed stage of breast cancer. Regardless of my not having risk factors or any symptoms associated with cancer outside of the lump, I'd already not only given myself cancer, but it was in an advanced state. Of course it was. Who am I without worry? Who am I without giving Chicken Little a run for his money on sky falling proclamations?

Oh, that week. That whole week was filled with all the what ifs of someone already told they're dying. I damn near chose what I'd wear in the casket. And then I remembered I don't want to be in a casket.

All of this leads me to say, less than profoundly, I'm sure, that there is a lot of shit that is "unknown" in the world. I have a fibroadenoma in my breast. "The cause of fibroadenomas is not known." Why some babies don't make it full term is unknown. Sometimes. Why kids die from diseases that aren't usually fatal is unknown. Why women wear stockings or socks with open toe shoes is utterly unknown.

There were so many women in the office when I visited this time. I couldn't help but imagine what each was feeling, what she was thinking. I wanted to hug them all. And I wanted to be hugged in return. And told I would be OK no matter the outcome. And then all brain hell broke loose. I was ushered into a small room filled with breast cancer pamphlets. Here's an idea, GW: don't send patients who are not suffering from cancer into the overly-Komen pink, cancer-covered room.

I sat there imagining my girls getting married without a mother to consult on wedding dresses or what venues in DC need to be booked a year and a half out. I imagined my boy being inconsolable as he is purely a mama's boy. And my husband. Lost without me. Unable to speak to another woman, find another woman even remotely attractive, let alone remarry. Poor thing never has sex again. Tragic.

I remembered a quote I'd read earlier in the week about choosing to be happy. In that moment, faced with the uncertainty of what news the doctor would deliver, I decided to simply choose happiness. In the next minute of course I was ready to cry, but it didn't matter. I simply accepted that too, and re-shifted my thoughts back to happiness. It's easier than I thought.

The doctor entered and said it was as she suspected: fibroadenoma, extremely common in black women. Black. The race that keeps on giving. Surgical removal is not recommended at this time, but I return in six months. If the mass has changed in shape or size, removal will be considered.

Until then, and from then on, I will try my best to remember to embrace the happy, call the happy to me, snuggle it, hug it and squeeze it and call it George. I'll refer to this post on those days that I want to throw staplers at my coworkers' foreheads or simply pick up my purse and walk out of the office. Or when I want to say no to children being children who want to ride bikes in 30 degrees just because the sun is out. You know what? Get a hat, a helmet, a coat and gloves, and let's hit it.

Cross posted at

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