I am overjoyed to report that yesterday's appointment left me feeling like I could take a deep sigh of relief and begin this new chapter with a much lighter heart. All went well. It turns out I have a water cyst, which is very common, and can come and go.
But here's the thing... As I left the ultrasound room, and felt like I was walking on a cloud all the way back to the waiting room to retrieve my clothing from the locker. But the moment I walked in to that room, I was overcome with pinches of guilt, compassion, and even grief for all of the women in that room, and all of the women who are no longer here because of this horrible disease. There was one woman in particular who appeared to already know the worst when she arrived. My heart broke for her. I wanted to wrap them all in my arms, and say, "We all get a free pass today!" I wanted to take them all with me, and celebrate only good news. But without counting, it was obvious by the number of women in the room that the statistics were against us all getting good news. I didn't want to turn my back on them and walk away. But, I couldn't wait to enter the main waiting room and flash a big smile for my husband to know everything was ok... for us. I smiled at the ladies who were smiling back... a silent good bye. And I lingered, making eye contact with the woman who seemed very somber. I wanted her to know that I felt her fear, and that she was not alone. Then... I left.
As my husband and I walked out of the building, into the bright sunny afternoon, we were practically skipping. He was asking what I wanted to do, expecting my desire for tonight's dinner and movie. I was thinking more along the lines of books to be written and art workshops in Italy. But just holding his hand was enough. And dinner was great.
But somehow the celebration was bittersweet. Although I have this renewed appreciation for each and every moment, and I am so very thankful to have gotten good news, I will never forget my sisters in that waiting room... and all the others. I will celebrate with all my heart. But now and forever, my heart carries them with me. It's a strange thing, isn't it? Kind of like a soldier returning from war. I am soooooo glad to be alive. I am more fully alive than ever before, and glad for it. But there is that tug. That knowledge. That brush with something so many dread and fear. I know I'm being overly dramatic here. That's me. But I almost feel responsible to not forget, and to do more with my life as so many wished they could, but never had the chance. Crazy? I guess. But... that's me. And I will do my best to honor those women through my work and my love. Most especially, my own mom, who lost her life to cancer. She was too young. And she left too many dreams still dreams.
Here's to waking up...