Dr. Lee calls me in the morning with the biopsy result from a week ago. The second my phone rings, I instinctively know it's her. My heart sinks. She's supposed to call me at 5 pm--why is she calling so early unless it's urgent? I begin to analyze her tone, but her hello is so finely balanced that I cannot immediately tell what that voice is about to deliver. I think I can read from her voice what sort of verdict I am in for. This of course is total bullshit. Seasoned doctors like her wouldn't necessarily show it in the ways that patients imagine they can read. But doctors are people too, and they will find it easier to give good news, surely. And am I not an expert analyst of any text and context? I can go on rationalizing and de-rationalizing, as if this endless rumination mattered more than the actual results and what they entail. It's pitiful but I can't help it. I get so wired up about these medical conversations; I'll pick apart littlest clues over and over--for any detail that might mean something, any hint that might shorten the suspense. But it's Dr. Lee that makes everything good by getting to the point without ceremony. The new lumps proved to be nothing to worry about: they're just hardened fatty tissues, as she had assumed, and they're going to melt away in time. She called as soon as she got the result because she knew I was anxiously waiting. So much for my interpretive skills. Everything depends on the doctor, and thank goodness I have this awsome woman who is kind and considerate in addition to being extremely professional.
It's been almost three weeks since I found these new lumps. It's a long enough time to spend in fear and uncertainty. Fear, however, is so exhausting that it is unsustainable, I learned. Somewhere in the middle of those three weeks, I stopped being actively scared, even though I was still worried and afraid. Instead, inertia set in. And it wasn't easy to fight it out. Even though my anxiety had lessened since seeing Dr. Lee last week, waiting for the biopsy result was still a drag. You can never be sure, for, as Dr. Lee says, "there are quiet a lot of exceptions." That off chance weighed me down; despite what I was consciously thinking, my body and my unconscious still lagged behind, and it was getting increasingly difficult to get out of bed. I'm relieved to be out of the tunnel now. It's disheartening to imagine how many more of these suspenses I'll have to live through in the future. But for now, I am happy to be healthy and happy to be enjoying this sense of relief.
As I was waiting for the biopsy result, I kept making a list of things that I would do once I'm off the hook. There was no reason why I shouldn't have done those things before the result was in, and I know it isn't always healthy to be thinking in those terms. But when you just can't help asking "what if" and putting your life on hold in face of the very concrete fear of recurrence, perhaps it is better to turn it around and use that logic to reward yourself afterwards. Now that I'm all good, I will do those things. Buy a pair of kickass suede boots. Get new eye glasses. Update Terry. Get back in touch with Nawon, who left a message at the office. Write a thank you note to that nice orthopedic surgeon who helped me with the hip joint stretching for weeks. Drive to Damyang and see the famous bamboo colonies and metasequois forest. Go to Tokyo. Plan that trip to the US. And go see that hair lady. I think I will now.