Grumpy is as grumpy sees

I’m still stuck on Marci, the chicken-soup-for-no-reason lady. She’s selling happiness, and I always need some of that. I think I’ll make her my Happy Ho for this holiday season. Ho Ho Ho!

But deep down, I’ll still be grumpy.

One day when I was a young teen, I was sitting in the back seat while my mom drove me and my brother Eric somewhere. Eric’s three years older than me and, like much of my family, struggles with grumpiness. (Don’t tell him I’m saying this. It’ll make him grumpy).

Back in high school, I remember Eric being angry a lot. I don’t think any of us in the Pennington house were especially upbeat, but Eric was capable of raging out impressively. I, on the other hand, was a cheerful angel. This particular day in the car, I thought everything was fine. But then I spotted a pair of eyes staring at me fixedly. It was Eric, giving me the stare-down via the rear view mirror. He wasn’t even bothering to turn around. He said nothing.

I stared back, considering the situation. He was looking increasingly angry, the furrows over his brow getting deeper and more twisted with each passing second, flames starting to spew. Aw shit, I thought, as I moved toward irate. Eric’s about to blow. What the hell had I done? Why was he glaring at me?? Why was he always picking fights with me like this???

The car went over a bump, the mirror jiggled, and I realized I was staring at myself.

It was a humiliating epiphany. I slunk down in the back seat, sullen and silent. I’ve never lived this moment down in my own mind; in fact I’ve thought of it often through the years, whenever I ponder the boundaries of hypocrisy and self-awareness. Grumpy is my birthright. Like many peeps, my brothers and I grew up with Archie Bunker as our dad, only no laugh track or great writing. Also we didn’t get mild and silly Edith. My mom was an intelligent, driven, raging lunatic in her own right, all 4-foot-11-inches of her passionate Korean soul barreling us down like an exploding volcano as we serpentined desperately through the days.

I’ve lost my train of thought. Right. As the years pass, I’m increasingly aware that SEEING I had the same crazy-ass angry eyes as Eric was a gift. I realized that I had to do something about it.

Since then, I’ve worked pretty hard on owning my grumpy. Like addiction, keeping an upper hand on grumpiness is a daily battle. One needs all the help one can get. So if you ever catch me taking my grumpy too seriously, please do something to lend a hand–mock me, head slap me, give me a laxative, tell me to f** off. Whatever it takes.

grumpy about my boobs

It’s been two days since I learned almost nothing from my second mammogram. I’ve spent nearly every waking hour since then pretending I can accurately guess whether I have cancer or not, and feeling very grumpy about how long it takes to get answers, and also feeling very grumpy about how much premature anxiety I’m generating for no good reason.

I know very little. I saw the scan–there was a small area with a bit of white glitter, which I guess is the micro-calcification. I know what the radiologist actually said. The scan is “inconclusive.” He shrugged as he said it.  80% of boobs he refers for biopsy come back negative.  When I asked him what the worst-case scenario was, he answered with a nod and without missing a micro-second beat, “DCIS.” (The mammo tech gave me the full name, ductal carcinoma in situ, which middle-of-the-night googling told me is like stage zero cancer. )

I’ve spent a lot of time reading meaning into the 2 minutes I spent with the radiologist. On one hand, I’m convinced he meant exactly what he said. On the other, I’m convinced he was holding out, and that if he was being straight he would have told me he’s pretty darn sure I have DCIS and should prepare myself. I infer this merely from his very quick answer, and that’s just silly. (unless it isn’t)

The rate of useless ideation on this subject is finally slowing down, just in time for my meeting tomorrow with the surgeon doing the biopsy, after which we can actually schedule it.  What a waste of time.  I suppose he’ll want to explain the procedure, but I’ll probably be sedated during it so it’s not like I’d be able to use that information for anything.  I don’t really want to understand how he biopsies me; I want to know if I have cancer.  Then he’ll ask if I have any questions. Sure doc. Do I have cancer?  Duh.

I wonder if I could speed things up by taking charge of the meet/greet tomorrow. I’ll march in, strip myself naked, grab my right breast and shake it in his face while screaming  “BIOPSY ME ALREADY” madly, again and again.  It may help speed up scheduling anyway.