A breast cancer survivor shares her experiences with the BRCA gene.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My New Companion

I arrived home this afternoon to find a message waiting for me from the bone cancer specialist who had viewed my MRI.

He said the MRI "wasn't specific for anything, although it would be a good idea for me to come back in 8 weeks for another MRI to evaluate for any changes."

Don't you love doctor-speak? But, after all these years, I've gotten pretty good on deciphering it: They can't say for sure it's not cancer. "Evaluating for any changes in 8weeks" means, "We want to see if that area grows."

However, I have decided not to respond with Fear...Instead, I've moved on to Panic.

It makes sense that the word "panic" derives from the mythological god, Pan, the creepy little creature who roamed the countryside. With horns, cloven feet and a tail (inspiring Christian images of Satan), even his mother ran away at the sight of him.

One description says, "His unseen presence aroused feelings of panic in men passing through the remote, lonely places of the wilds." This captures how I feel right at the moment. I'm in the wilderness with an eerie unseen presence hovering about me.

I decided to not tell my husband about the MRI. Or my parents. I've seen the toll that cancer and my BRCA surgery took on them this year. And, they can't do a thing but stand helplessly by, worrying about someone they love. Why drag them to hell and back if this turns out to be nothing?

So, I worry--rather, I panic--alone.

If you have or have had cancer, you understand this roller coaster ride. Every test has the potential to expose something bad. And with MRI technology, I've been told that often "too much" shows up on film, adding to the confusion. Much of the "extra stuff" is nothing at all. But, then, as we cancer people can attest, the strange thing they see on an x-ray can turn out to be something with a very nasty name.

So, Pan has entered my life for the time being...but I'm not telling my husband. Although I'm sure Pan will expose himself one way or another in the next 8 weeks as I wait for the second MRI.

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