Today I sit here, alive. Today I sit here, surrounded by more love than I ever believed possible. Today I sit here, on the verge of a new life.
Today I sit here, writing to you.
“Margaret Hanson?” The nurse, a woman, scans the waiting room.
“Hi, yes, that’s me.” I’m always startled by my first name, and it takes me a moment to respond. I’m sitting in the corner, one eye on Property Brothers, the other on my work phone, irritated at being kept waiting.
I rise from my chair, stuffing the phone away in my handbag, make a show of being annoyed at the delay (too chicken to say anything out loud), and head towards the door that will lead me back into the warren of open nooks and small rooms which comprise the breast center. Then the nurse and I will sit together, she will open a folder or a computer screen, and tell me that all is well. False alarm. See you next year.
Welcome to my next "Dear Me..." excerpt. This time I share a couple of key events preceding my cancer diagnosis: the first ultrasound and the botched biopsy. I begin here in the middle of a chapter, one where I am on a plane heading to Sweden after being cleared for travel. I hope you enjoy. Or at the very least, question.
I remember when I first started really making decisions for myself, with nothing more to go on than my intuition and inner voice. My inner voice — no one else’s in my head. No books. No online guidance. Nobody. Me.
It was late-October. I had just found out that the breast cancer with which I had been diagnosed was in my lymph nodes. The short and sweet lumpectomy I had imagined had been transformed into a life-threatening event with the elevated cancer staging — 2B.
The weight of the decision on who I would choose to treat my cancer had increased exponentially. How to choose? Who to ask? Where do you even start with something like this? I remember hearing all of the guidance, well meaning of course, and worrying how I would know the truth?