Seeing the letter that I needed to do follow up on my free mammogram was a shock. The follow up brought even worse news. There were nasty little cells that if they had a birthday cake would have no more than two candles thanks to the free biannual mammograms which is part of the advantages of living in Geneva.
I do not wish to minimize the seriousness of having those little bastards in my body. On the other hand I am 68 and three quarters. I’ve lived a life beyond blessed and it is only greediness that makes me want more, more, more…more writing, more travelling, more learning. More time with my daughter, my friends. However, if a truck were to hit me tomorrow, I have no regrets no I-wish-I’d-dones (maybe a few I-wish-I-hadn'ts).
Of course I could have chosen to ignore the little bastards, which would be stupid, or I can make sure they never see a birthday cake with three candles and in the process of getting rid of them and any of their friends they may have, I can make this a fun and interesting experience.
No, I’m not in denial. In my passion to live life to the fullest, I need to live the negatives to the fullest too.
Already the doctor who did the biopsy and I had a wonderful conversation. He wanted to practice his English and told me his daughter was at BU on Comm Ave. when he learned I was from Boston. The BU and Comm Ave. were dead giveaways that he knew the area. That I went to the same School of Communication at Boston University on Commonwealth Avenue as she was doing forged a bond.
He showed me two mini-mini rice grains that he pulled out of my right breast for the biopsy. That’s two less I need to get rid off.
Having a housemate who had been through it years ago, having her having been a godmother to Anglophone breast cancer patients is a great plus.
The team I’ve met with at the Hospital makes me so grateful I am here. The young doctor in charge will go to the same hospital for two years next year that my housemate’s sister was treated at. How much more small world can it get?
There is no rush to throw you out the door after surgery. A nurse is assigned to you throughout.
The doctor told me that the treatment is to remove the cells, check the lymph nodes and then if they are clean, leave the rest of the lymph nodes. If they are not clean, they pull them out too.
She tried to reassure me about keeping my breast. I had to explain to her that up until ten years ago, I didn’t even need a bra. It had nothing to do with being a feminist. There was nothing to need it for.
The doctor explains that surgery might raise the breast a bit, but it is the lower of the two. She also explains that if the breast were to be removed it is considered necessary to reconstruct not cosmetic so insurance covers it.
How lucky am I that I am in the Swiss medical system?
The hard part so far was telling my daughter. I want to make sure she doesn’t hear prior to a major interview, but when that was over, I shared the information with her.
A friend and I go for a walk along the lake. “I tell her how it seems every doctor I see tells me “Vous êtes drole.”
“You are funny,” she tells me. “You should write this. She comes up with the title.
My writing mate in Vienna tells me I should blog the experience. We writers have verbal diarrhea of the fingers whenever we sit at the key board.
Am I happy about this?
Will I make the best of it?
As they used to say in the long distant past--you bet your sweet bippy!