I got home to Paul and we hugged for a long time, then we laughed, because, truly — if you knew everything else we’ve been through the past few years, you too would find this diagnosis to be so ridiculous that it’s laughable (I promise that I will get around to filling you all in on that other stuff).
I have just enough time to take a quick shower and change my clothes. I obvie had sweat through my first outfit of the day. Secret clinical can withstand only so much! I stood in our bedroom thinking about what outfit I wanted to wear to my first cancer appointment. It’s sick how my mind works. What cute Stella & Dot earrings should I wear? Should I build a cute arm party so that all the other cancer patients will think I’m so stylish? No, no, I should be more solemn and not get too flashy — this is cancer and it’s serious, right? Whatevs. In case you were wondering, I went with jeans, a grey v-neck short sleeve tee (I anticipated a lot more sweating, hence the choice of short sleeve), my Stella & Dot Bryant Park scarf in green, black Tory flats and a black quilty jacket. Perfect mix of cute and solemn.
Enter Jennifer Glover. She is not, in fact, black. She is a kind, warm, white woman. I’m told she will become my savior throughout this process (err, ordeal?).
We talked with her for 2 hours or so. Jennifer Glover (not sure why I insist upon using both her first and last names, but I like the way it sounds) is so nice. I really like her. She made me feel at ease and was kind to us — but not condescending. She had done her research and knew I’m a lawyer. She spoke to me on an intellectual level and just gave me the facts. I think she knew my mind would work best with cold, hard facts. There was a point, however, where I think she was trying to pull a Barbara Walters move on me — no joke. She was trying to get me to cry! She said something to the effect of “I know this is hard, do you have any questions for me?” A perfectly banal question — but she did the lean in and and just stared at me — she wouldn’t break eye contact. Her eyes were so caring — I felt the swell starting — but I would not succumb. I avoided crying by making a joke, “So, do we get rid of my cancer for a $10 co-pay? How does all of this work?” Ha! You will not Babs me Jennifer Glover. You will not win!
She ordered blood work, urine samples and a chest CT — all to be done before we left for the day. So began our parade around PAMF — a visit to the radiology lab, the blood lab, back to radiology… I think PAMF should have some sort of fast track system. Maybe people like me could wear a lariat that gained us VIP check in at each department. There are going to be so many appointments over the next few months — I should earn cafeteria points or something.
At this point in the day I felt like I just might barf at any minute. My head was pounding because I hadn’t eaten all day. I was scared to eat, because the barfing might actually happen. I hate nothing more than barfing (can you tell how much I like to use the word “barf”? As you’re reading this, you should say it with a Buffalo accent in your head. I want that for you dear reader — because “barf” is such a Buffalo word!).
On our drive home, Paul and I had a chuckle. We started making bets on what our families’ reactions to the news would be. I guessed that the first words out of his mom’s mouth would be “Oh. Shit.” (again, you MUST read this with a Buffalo accent). Those of you who know us, and know Diane — will know just how hilarious and spot on that guess is! (Diane, I know you are reading this — I want you to know that you crack me up and I’m so happy you are you because just thinking of you in that moment, on that day, allowed us to be distracted and laugh — so thank you).