I Drop the F Bomb On My Doctor


I drop the F bomb on my doctor–right after she tells me that I have “invasive ductal carcinoma.” Receiving the news that I have breast cancer shocks me and I feel for my doctor who has to be the messenger. I don’t usually use expletives and now I am worried that my physician thinks that I am someone who uses the F word casually!

I work up the courage to ask her what stage it is and her reply is vague, “we think it’s stage 1.” This is the first hard truth I learn about breast cancer: the stage and treatment plan isn’t definitive until after your surgery when they run a slew of pathology tests on the Cancer. It takes me a couple of weeks to figure this out as my doctor would continue to say, “we think…”

Meanwhile, my brain anticipates the worst: the cancer is spreading like the zombie virus on the show Walking Dead and I won’t make it through the end of the year. Not knowing is the hardest part in all of this, the uncertainty.

The second hard truth is how complicated breast cancer can be; even my breast surgeon  needs a flow chart to tell me, “if this, then that.” The learning curve is huge–like someone forcing you to use Rosetta Stone because you have to leave for rural China in less than a month and there’s no translator over there. It’s a full on immersion experience and you don’t get to dip your toe in first.

Having breast cancer reminded me just how human I am which means I am flawed. And it is okay. It is okay to feel fear, to feel sad, to feel a whole rainbow of emotions so intense that at times seem unbearable. It is okay because eventually, it dawns on me that cancer is just a word. And so much of what I think isn’t real. Many cancers grow slowly and my paranoia was unfounded. The third hard truth is that losing my composure via the F word is just another instance of being human.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. kristen says:

    Yes! Every last word.

    Liked by 1 person

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