March First. thump, thump. March First. thump, thump.
It’s that time of year again. The day I dread.
March First. thump, thump.
The date runs through my head like a broken record, and my heart pounds harder and harder as the day approaches.
I flash back to the pain in my mouth all those years ago. I thought I was biting my tongue at night, and the dentist agreed. He shaved down my teeth, which helped for a short time, and then he sent me to the oral surgeon when the pain was too much. The oral surgeon took one look, said “it’s an ulcer; nothing to worry about. I’ll take it out right here and we’ll send it out for testing. Just to be safe.”
I’d wanted to believe him. I prayed that he was right, but I knew. The look of worry in the assistant’s eye that day was too telling. So were the unspoken conversations between staff members around me. So was the omniscient pain from the impromptu surgery, which hit like a ton of bricks while driving home alone. I sat in the pharmacy chairs, tears rolling down my face, as I waited for the pain meds to be filled. The pharmacist so worried that she offered me a cup of water to take the medication at the counter.
It didn’t help. The pain was too far ahead of the meds. I went home and screamed into pillows. Wailed from pain. If I had had the strength or someone to drive me, I would have gone to the emergency room. It was that strong. And I wouldn’t feel that pain again until Sean was born and the epidural wore off and he tore, literally, into this world.
And almost 2 weeks later I sat in the waiting room for just a little too long. The staff brought me into his office for the follow-up, rather than a regular examination room. I listened to his footsteps approach the office door and he removed my chart hanging there. I heard him sigh, and before he even pushed open that door, I knew he would tell me I had tongue cancer.
Most people would have broken down crying when their doctor told them. They may have been hysterical or uncontrollable or any of those other Hollywood images that come to your mind. I sat there, said <click here for more>