The day I was officially diagnosed I spent the evening working on a craft project waiting for Preston, my soon to be husband, to get home from work. There was no dinner; I couldn’t even think about food. Sitting stoically in Preston and I’s extra bedroom I stared at a gift I was making for my bridesmaids. I stared at Preston’s guitars propped in their stands in the corner. The dog bounced around trying to get me to play, but I could only ignore him until he eventually laid down on the loveseat to sleep. From my chair by the window, I could see Preston pull in, and I immediately began to cry. Enormous uncontrollable, yet quiet, tears. Together we had decided last week that I was fine. Not only was I hanging out in denialville, I had booked a room for Preston too.
He immediately came upstairs to find me, but I knew that he was going to be completely caught by surprise. But when he saw my tears he immediately came in and dropped into the chair across from me. All I could do was repeat what the doctor said. I only remember him kneeling in front of me and grabbing my hands in his. I don’t remember what he said or what we did next. We were just in shock.Trying to be my typical under-reacting self, I watched t.v. without really watching it. Maybe to put it more accurately, I stared in the general direction of the t.v. During that time of relative calm, Preston asks me, “Does it feel real?” And I confidently replied, “Yeah, I think so. I’m pretty good with reality.” Deny.
When I went up to bed, I could feel my mind racing, my body jittery. I laid in the darkness, letting my mind take over. I couldn’t stand it another minute. The fear that was building inside me was finally overcoming me, and control was pushed to the wayside. I burst out sobbing. No, heaving. Barely able to comprehend what was happening to me, let alone why. I cried so loud I suspected the townhomes next to us could hear, but I didn’t care. I let Preston hold me while I cried until I couldn’t even see out of my puffed up eyes. I writhed around on the bed twisting and turning for no other reason than it’s what my mind was telling my body to do.
I took two benadryls knowing that without them I would be hysterical all night long. With time and comfort, I began to drift into an oddly restful sleep. Once the benadryl kicked in, I was more than ready to accept the escape sleep could bring to me. As I drifted off, Preston sat on the edge of the bed with his acoustic, playing me all my favorite songs while I continued to quietly cry.
In the morning, I could have denied that yesterday had happened at all, save for my puffy, red, and swollen eyes. Using cold spoons and makeup, I did my best to disguise the remnants of my hysterics from the previous night, got in my car, and spent the day at work. While preparing for my mastectomy and other treatments, it would become the one place in my life where almost no one knew what I was going through. It was the one piece of my life that I could still pretend that I was healthy and cancer-free. Deny.