I got nothing. I’m not really grumpy about anything tonight. It’s New Year’s eve and the year 2013 in review looks really good for pretty much everyone in my family and my acquaintance. Also I found out this morning I don’t have breast cancer, and that’s brightened my outlook measurably.
Although, about that.
I suppose I’m annoyed it took so long to obtain this cheerful news — almost 2 full months from the initial mammogram. That seems like too long.
And I’m experiencing some feelings I can’t find words for at all, though I’m sure someone somewhere has done so. I’m thankful and relieved about my own good news, but what of the 20% of biopsied women who got bad news today? They matter just as much as me; as many prayers were spoken for them as for me; and I feel like I’m gloating at them if I get overly happy about this. I remember what it’s called–survivor’s guilt, right? I’m experiencing some lesser version of survivor’s guilt, like… I-don’t-have-cancer embarrassment. (I know, I have a gift for words.)
My guess is that this runs deeper in my soul than just this episode. I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in my 20’s, which is a story for another day, and everything turned out fine. It was an easy fix, a scope surgery and nothing more, a very low grade cancer. For what I had, there’s probably a higher risk of death from catching influenza. But the word “cancer” always seems to gain me a special respect, like I’m a SURVIVOR. It doesn’t seem fair I get such a back pat over it whenever it comes up. It’s embarrassing.
I addressed my uncomfortable feeling pronto this morning. As soon as I learned about the negative biopsy results, I rounded up the kids and went shopping. Almost nothing takes the edges off my happy place as much as shopping with Jesse and Nick. We landed at Target and didn’t even make it past the checkout area before I stopped, bent over in exasperation with my head resting on the shopping cart, taking deep breaths to stop myself from yelling at them. Shortly after that, when I managed to gather them in one place for long enough, I explained that mommy was going to keep moving, and if they lost me they should look for anyone in a red shirt with a name tag and request that mommy be paged. Next stop was Trader Joes, which went about as well as Target. In all, it was a long two hours.
But I have to admit, it still wasn’t enough to make me grumpy for longer than a few moments at a time. Today I’m happy for no reason, and it looks like nothing is going to bring me down. Happy New Year, my friends!