I am the healthiest person I know-especially among my family!
I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs (any longer!) eat organic when possible, work out (fairly) consistently, meditate and live a mostly stress-free life.
I couldn’t help myself. Even though I’d told myself I wouldn’t, I found myself asking silently, “Why me?”
I was sitting in a beautiful conference room in the Breast Clinic at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. Everything in the Breast Clinic was lovely: The lighting and furnishings, even the bathroom. Everything except the reason we were all patients there.
I was attending a planning meeting with my surgeon, Janie Grumley, my nurse coordinator (and God send!), Natalie, a surgical resident and my sister, Gretchen. I thought, “One reason I haven’t had a real job for the last 30+ years is that I HATE meetings.” But I digress.
I had been given a binder packed full of tabs, notes and my medical records. I couldn’t help but remember my old friend, Dave DeVarona, telling me so many years ago, “If you don’t have a real business, you’d better have a great notebook.” This is a great notebook.
Funny how the mind wanders during stressful meetings. It’s like my brain knows when it’s had enough and needs to check out-to funnier thoughts.
But I digress-again.
I am being shown a diagram of breast anatomy and how breast cancer progresses. I have DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ. It’s inside the duct wall and, at this point, it ain’t goin’ anywhere. Good news. It’s microscopic, and, as the science and technology stands right now, needs to be removed before it “learns” how to spread
As Dr. Grumley explains it, our cells regenerate by dividing billions of times in a lifetime. Sometimes they just have the wrong code and that divides as well, and keeps dividing, leading to cancer. (That helps answer, “Why me?” Just because).
I think of my dog, Heidi. She’s a dachshund and loves to burrow. For years she would sleep under the covers at my feet at night. I loved that. Then, one night I farted and she walked out from under the covers, glared at me and never went back. One little mistake changed her behavior for good. Same with cancer.
As I’m watching Dr. Grumley draw on the pictures of breasts in my notebook, my mind wanders to Michael Keaton’s movie, “Multiplicity.” In it, he discovers how to clone himself to make his life easier. He has 2 clones and life is going well. Then one of his clones decides to clone himself and the result is a mess! His 3rd clone is a goof ball that keeps screwing up his life. Right now my cancer cells are Michael Keaton’s #3 clone. We need to remove those cells before they learn how to live in “normal society”-the rest of my body.
I love my brain.