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Thursday, November 28, 2013

On Changing the Channel

"OK, let me pull up the results... just let me check..."

Early March, 2013.  Amrita and I wait, eyes on each other, fully present, waiting as the doctor fumbles with her computer.

"I'm sorry, the results aren't here, would you excuse me for a minute?"

She leaves, and we completely crack up.  We know what's happening.  We're here to find out the results of a biopsy of my wife's breast tissue.  We're here to find out if she has cancer, and we really don't know if it's going to be good news or bad.  But still, we're with each other, and in that space, in the tension of the moment, in our impatience with the clumsy medical system and the doctor who can't seem to look us in the eye, all we can do is laugh.

I offer one hopeful opinion in the space that follows.  Surely, I think, all this confusion reflects a hopeful result.  A clear positive is a clear positive, the doctor could have told us that.

But she comes back, and the news is not good.  Lots of long words and obfuscation to cover the simple truth - my wife has breast cancer.  Time to start planning treatment.  Here's an oncologist to go see.  Here's a surgeon, "best breast man on Maui".  (Laughter lurks again.)

As we walk out to the car, I turn to Amrita.  "I'm going to get a job."