the whole truth

The recipe isn’t the only thing tugging at me from the bowls of my blogging self. There is also cancer.

Except that I don’t know exactly what I want to say about it. On some level, I understand that the word relates to me in a new way: before it was just my birthday. Now I have a cancer surgeon. I am joining a cancer study.

This cancer comes with caveats.  First, it is not mine.  I refuse possession of it, for any of the gods and sprites who care about such things.  Second, it is the best possible option, if you’re going to pick from the available options for bad luck.

It has its own acronym: DCIS.

In terms available to normal people: some cells in the ducts in my breast went a little wonky.  The wonky cells were all sucked out by a needle in the process of the biopsy.  You couldn’t even see them in the specimen jar.  The wonky cells were contained to the duct, so they are not invasive.  They weren’t growing as slowly as they could, but not as fast as they could either.

This is not the cancer that is likely to kill you.  The most probable outcome is that nothing will go wrong with my boobs ever again.  The potential that something will go wrong with my boobs again is greater than it would have been had nothing ever gone wrong in the first place.

And yet, I hold the breast with the biopsy bruise gently.  I look at her with affectionate pity.  I remember what the needle feels like when it’s buried in my flesh.  I am holding myself carefully too.  Something in me has sustained damage, and I don’t know how bad it is yet, except that it could be worse.

The news, the diagnosis, is not the only ache.  It is a shadow of the deeper ache and it pulls on those connections with a strength disproportionate to its size.  Laying on the biopsy table – a thing I will describe in detail later – I thought about crawling into the hospital bed with my mother, and willed myself not to cry. I did not want the biopsying doctor to know that I was anything less than stoic and impervious.  I did not want to talk about my feelings or share my mother with this woman, except perhaps as a shield.

And that is the second difficulty: the doctors.  They ask the wrong questions. They decide and recommend in terms of insurance.  First, their malpractice insurance and second, my health insurance.  They over-react because no one ever got sued for over-treating a disease.  Generate as much fear as possible because afraid people are compliant.  My doctors are not bad people. They do not approach my body in this way because they are malicious or wish to injure me further.  They approach my body according to their interests. I cannot fault them for this.

However, my interests are going to determine what I allow. And I will freely resent the way they talk to me, that calm reasonable voice adults save for crying children that they use on me even though I’m not having a tantrum, I’m only resisting going along blindly with the application of their interests to my body.

the whole truth

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