This waiting period has been much harder than I expected. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be fun, but I didn't expect that I would want to bury myself under a pile of sand quite as much as I do. (Out of interest, does anybody else experience this? When I am anxious or sad, I have a really strong physical urge to get underneath something. A table or a duvet or a piano or something. I'm not kidding, and it kind of freaks me out. Generally I just aim for the duvet but this time I kind of want something heavier). (Please don't hate me for admitting that). I guess what I'm saying is that life does not feel very much like a fluffy bunny at the moment. In fact, I would say it is something of a bunny free zone.
Giveaway number one. You know how hospitals like to make a bit of extra money these days by selling retail space? I've been inside a fair number of hospitals, and it seems the shopping area usually has a cafe (mediocre) another cafe (truly awful) a gift shop (magazines that nobody wants to read, and sad dusty teddy bears with dead little eyes) and oh, another cafe, even worse than the first two. That's not what this hospital had. Oh no. Next to the obligatory cafe, directly opposite the entrance, was a shop that only sold one thing: wigs. Uh huh. The shop that expects the most customers from the people who frequent this hospital is the I can't help noticing your cancer treatment took away your hair shop.
Also. You know how hospitals have those big direction boards with how to get to all the different departments? Well, all the departments in this hospital were the 'oh no, you have to go there' departments. Nobody was getting their hip replaced. Nobody was having a knee operation. Absolutely nobody was having a baby. It was all sad, scared people, walking around in pairs holding tightly to each other's hands. It was really starkly obvious that this was the kind of place where all the patients need to bring their spouses to their appointments for support. There was a strange, strained atmosphere so yeah, I guess we fit right in.
Eventually we trekked across the silent corridors of misery, got to see the geneticist, and she was super-nice. Really, really super-nice. She said she hardly sees any second-generation testees*, and she'd already been in touch with my mother's geneticist (in Australia - I was suitably impressed) so she knew exactly what gene deletion she was looking for. I think that because I've already had some conversations about the biology behind all this with my mother and cousins, I knew more than most of her patients do when they come for a first test, so she kind of skated quickly over all the basic information and got into the nitty gritty of some of the treatment options. I was glad to find her really knowledgeable, but I'm not really sure that I was ready to go into all the depth that we did - it has been a really big thing for me, deciding that I do want to know about what's going on in my body, whether it's going to try to kill me at some point in the future, and I wasn't really ready to think about 'hmmm, Total Abdominal Hysterectomy with Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy or just oophorectomy? Mastectomy with no breast reconstruction or mastectomy with reconstruction using stomach fat [that's when she offered me the bonus tummy tuck] or reconstruction using back fat or reconstruction using synthetics?' I have no idea. I don't know. I don't know I don't know I don't know. I don't know. I don't even know if I have the gene yet, so I'm not ready to think about this stuff, but of course now I'm thinking about it all the time.
Then - because of her fascination with my ovaries - she was asking 'so, are you planning to have any children?' and I just laughed, in that wow, this isn't funny at all, why am I laughing**? kind of way and said 'ummmmm, well, we've already sat in this room once before' and she said 'yes, I can see that from your notes' and then I laughed hysterically again and told her we had two adopted children because of our initial trip to the geneticist, five years ago, but that we really had no idea what we might do next (if anything) in terms of more children and she says 'well, if you were to get your ovaries removed...' and frankly, who cares what someone says at the end of a sentence that starts like that? Have I mentioned lately that I'm thirty-three? I'm thirty-three. I do not feel ready to think about getting my ovaries removed. Or my breasts.
And by the way, sometimes I would be tempted to type br3asts instead of breasts, because I want to keep people who are searching for naughty stuff away from my blog. But this time, I'm leaving it there because the horrible men who are trawling the internet looking for naked pictures? Well, I hope they find this post instead of what they were really looking for. Cruising the interwebz for a cheap thrill, boys? Well, I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING FUN READING ABOUT OOPHORECTOMIES.
Also. I know that some people reading this have actually had cancer, and all of us know people who have died because of it. I am very aware that what I'm facing is not actually a diagnosis of anything except for risk. I'm not trying to be a drama queen about all of this. I know that I must sound to some of you like the person who has only been trying to get pregnant for six months and now thinks that they totally get infertility. I realise that I do sound a bit uber-dramatic about this wait, this anxiety, and I guess that's why I took an unintentional break for the last few weeks, waiting for all of this to feel a bit less raw and panicked before I vomited it out here. And actually, I didn't intend to even vomit this much, seeing as how this is supposed to be an adoption blog, but my fingers just seem to keep typing of their own accord. Bad fingers. Bad, bad fingers.
And yeah, I may feel pretty stupid if I get the letter on Monday and it says Negative for the gene mutation, no heightened cancer risk. But I'm pretty sure I can deal with feeling stupid. I can think of worse things than having to type 'guess what, it turns out I'm A-OK' Sometimes I picture myself getting the letter with the results (the one that is supposed to come within four weeks of the appointment) and opening it up and it says NEGATIVE! and then I jump for joy and drink some champagne and then I start to think seriously about saving for retirement, because hey, I might need to do that after all. But twenty seconds later I wish I hadn't had those thoughts. After all,if I do get good news, I'm sure I'll figure out what to do without having planned the minutiae, and I don't want to have to put those fantasies away. I don't need them. After all, I'm okay with happy surprises.
Bad news, on the other hand - I do have a plan for that. Over the last week or so, I've been collecting a 'bag of treats' that I'm only allowed to open once I've got my letter. I know it's shallow, and trivial, but I wanted to have something shallow and trivial to look forward to during a week that might be really hard (and a month that has already been really hard). The bag itself is bright pink***, and so far inside it I have:
and to be honest, I feel a little better just thinking about it. I'm also waiting on a mindless girly DVD I ordered from Amazon, and I am ABSOLUTELY taking suggestions for other things that should go inside. What would you put in a bag of treats? (Don't say a puppy, even though that is an awesome idea). The criteria are: entertaining, mindless, fun, not too expensive, able to be enjoyed immediately. And not a puppy.
So anyway, that's me right now. Believe me, I know how boring this is. I will start writing about adoption again soon, I promise, but right now this is eating all of my mind-grapes. I'm so sorry that I owe so many people emails, and that I haven't commented on anything at all lately. I think what I'm really trying to say is:
Normal service will resume shortly.
*hee hee. That sounds like testes. I was going to find another word, but then I thought this post might as well have some male body parts along with all the female ones.
**I've been doing a ton of this lately.I was filling in my sister in law on everything that has happened over the last few weeks and I was telling her "and then we had to take Blue to hospital and that was weeks ago and we are all still sick and now I'm waiting to find out whether I'm going get gene linked cancer HA HA HA HA HA!" and a part of me was looking on and thinking 'wow, it's really time to stop laughing Claudia' but it was that or head for the sandpit so, well, what can you do?
***annoyingly, as far as I can tell, this organisation only exists in the US which kinda stinks for me.