I’m Proceeding without a Map or Destination

by NotDownOrOut

On October 4, 2011, my doctor informed me that I had uterine cancer. He wore a long, white linen coat over green scrubs–very stylish. The coat had a turned up collar that Ming the Merciless of Flash Gordon fame might have worn. His hair was perfectly tousled. I wanted to hear him say that I was going to be okay, but people in my profession have given people in his profession cause for choosing their words carefully. He spoke cautiously about the significance of this diagnosis. I needed to undergo a hysterectomy. The type of cancer I had generally grew slowly. In its early stages it could be overcome with surgery alone. The doctor was patient and articulate, but the word “cancer” drowned out every word that followed. I imagined this was Michael Kors on Project Runway. He did not care for my backless hospital gown accessorized by a bag of saline and another of blood, each tethering me to a rumpled hospital bed in which I had found no escape through sleep. Any moment Heidi Klum would walk in and say, “Auf wiedersehen.”

Years of legal training helped me focus. The thunder that pounded inside my head abated. My heartbeat settled back into a more sober patter. I answered honestly that I had no questions. In fact, I had one question: How will I break this news to my 74-year-old mom?