Now that we’ve turned the calendar page into October, I’ll capture a little of what my journal for September shows: (warning–I’m going to describe shuddery stuff.)
• Sept 7 My cousin died in the night, after a lifetime of living with Cystic Fibrosis. Chris, I loved you.
• Sept 14 Morning surprise: K had an episode of syncope (fainting) at school, and with a bloody nose, racing pulse, and extended dizziness, we got to take an ambulance trip on the ferry. K was three layers deep, riding beneath a blanket on a gurney inside an ambulance aboard the ferry. She’s okay now; she was dehydrated and fighting a virus.
• Sept 15 Early morning appointment for a punch biopsy on the roof of my mouth. There was a bit more bleeding than expected; it probably wasn’t such a good idea to teach the same day. Hidden talent: I can swallow lots of blood without anyone suspecting and without upchucking. [My journal goes on for some length about malignant melanoma, since that’s what the biopsy was looking for. My dentist found a suspicious-looking spot in a strange place–on my palate. Moral: Don’t put off going to the dentist just because you’ve never had a cavity!]
What does it feel like to wait for a possibly cancerous biopsy to come back?
–A near-constant tension between pushing the thought from my head and keeping it there intentionally, to deal with it slowly and on my terms.
–Intense waves of sadness. Grief for my children and my husband.
–Every few minutes, this is necessary: a brisk, stern sweeping of the mind and a re-focusing on the task at hand. The thought of cancer is cancerous itself; worries spread and invade, taint, color, darken.
–In the first couple of days, when I really felt sorry for myself because I couldn’t eat much of anything and I was waking up in the night, I commandeered some of B’s cozy pants for Cancer Pants and did an Anti-Cancer Dance and went on a couple of Anti-Cancer Rants. It’s a very good idea.
• Sept 25 Call from the school nurse–this time, S is there with the end of her finger, which she sliced along with a head of lettuce in her Foods class. To the clinic, where dear G sutured her ring finger back into shape.
• Sept 29 Celebrate everything! The biopsy indicates a melanotic macule, which is completely benign. The only time I have ever felt this kind of physical, ongoing relief is after the successful births of the children.
So we come to sossing (v.): to fall at once into a chair or seat; to sit lazily.
Happiness: the puppy and the garden that were thriving all September. It’s time to bring in the green tomatoes!