It's late afternoon when the phone rings and my heart races a little when I see the Sanford number appear. The male voice hesitates, than says, "Vicky?"
I instantly hear mere remnants of his Indian accent, as he fully pronounces the "V" in my name like a pro. It's Dr. Panwalkar calling, and I assure him its me.
He jumps right into the report. He always manages to condense a 3 page report into a few sentences.
"The scan shows that the 3 spots in your lungs, have slightly progressed now. They are showing more uptake on the scan. However, it does not seem significant enough at this time to discontinue your current treatment. Okay?"
And then he says,
"Oh, and there were no new spots found."
So it appears "stable mabel," is slipping from my grasp, but she's rather on the slow side.
He asks if I have any questions, and I don't.
"Very good. I'll put the report in the mail. Have a good one!"
And he's off.
I still steel myself for the actual report the day it arrives in the mail. I trust Dr. Panwalkar's interpretation, which is usually in keeping with the radiologist's report.
It's just the details- the finite detail of how much cancer, and precisely which vital organ the cancer is next too, that causes me to conjure up pictures that make me feel anxious.
And then there is that one little sentence that throws me for a loop, this time. Its suggesting "uptake," on the left side of my abdomen, in my colon. (It is not reporting a lesion, or spot of any kind. Only that for some reason, my colon shows uptake of the tracer, on the scan.) The report suggests a Colonscopy is in order based on these findings.
Ohhhhh. Dr. P didn't mention anything about that, yet. Even though I'll see him again soon, I place a call to him and am waiting to hear back.
So can breast cancer metastasize to the colon? Or can you get colon cancer and breast cancer?
How can I possibly think my way through this?
My mind whirls, and it all starts to feel like too much.
So I'm choosing to go back to my word. I have to put something else in my brain and hang on to that.
Really, all I have to do, is look down. Its right there on my chest… Just believe.
Just the other day, the doorbell rang, and to my great delight and surprise, was Shirley, a friend of my mother's and myself. Shirley and I were both overcome by emotion.
Her daughter, Susan, had sent me a copy of picture of the sweatshirt above on Facebook. I loved just seeing it! I think its part of the reason I chose this word. I hoped to lay eyes on the word "believe," as often as I could, in whatever ways I could.
The sweatshirt fits perfectly and I wore it all day yesterday, even when I went to see my mom. My mother couldn't get over her friend Shirley, and her daughter Susan, had so generously given me this lovely gift.
And the doughnuts? Homemade by my childhood church- Grace church, by Shirley and a group of woman- and they are divine! So we brought some of those over to my mom as well.
Out of the blue, mom said she was craving pizza. Would we want to come over and have pizza with her one day? I mentioned a childhood favorite of hers, Duane's House of Pizza, and she was instantly excited. "My favorite! Oh could you bring that?"
It was just the tiniest hint of the mother I've known all these years, peeking through the veneer of contentment, and stillness, that prevails these days.
So we spent the night giggling over whose rooster tail was bigger, Colton's or Grandma's?
And we ate, and watched hockey and relaxed.
~all things are possible, if you believe~ all things~