|Somewhere there's a color called serosanguinous. via flickr.|
It started with a kiss.
It was two years ago today that my first symptom appeared, and first alarm bell rang.
I've never really told that story here, because frankly, it's kind of embarrassing. Oh, for a chaste "found a lump during a BSE" story. (I'm kidding of course.)
Firstly there was no lump. There was what is referred to as "bloody nipple discharge." A dark pink fluid that presented itself at a most inopportune place and time: in our bedroom, as my husband was rounding second base.
Yes, my cancer story begins with a sex scene, and something resembling strawberry jam. As in, "Where did that jam come from?" followed by, "Uh, from my left tit." A long buried memory from high school health class surfaced, and a thought rang clear as a bell: this is bad.
I scurried off to the computer, planning to be reassured by Dr. Google. When that didn't happen, I emailed my actual doctor, asking if she thought I should come in, or if it could wait until my next physical.
She said I should not wait.
The next day, I saw her and she palpated my breast with the same result. She was reassuring, but sent me for an ultrasound and to see a breast surgeon. When the secretary made the appointment for the ultrasound, she was so so nice to me, and I knew. I called Matt.
"She's being too nice, and I'm scared."
He knew what I meant, of course, and both of us were transported back to the moments after his diagnosis, when the secretary at the ENT's office spoke in hushed tones, and told him to try and eat something before his CT later that day. We did as we were told, and choked down scrambled eggs at a diner across the street.
People are nice to you when you have cancer. It should be listed as an official side effect.
I went home and we talked about how there was no way it was cancer. No way. What were the fucking odds, anyway? All the while I was reading things online that said "see a doctor right away if you experience the following," and listing a bunch of things, and I was on that list. All of a sudden, I was on that fucking list.
The next time we had sex, it was post-diagnosis, and I sobbed afterward. I thought to myself, "Good luck getting over this one, kid."
It started, so innocently, with a kiss.