Six years ago, I decided to get my ass to the ER due to what I thought were heart attack symptoms. I was visiting my dad at the time trying to help him out with some spring cleaning. My dad lives about three hours from my house, so when I think back on it, it was a pretty dumb decision I made that day to hop in my car, drive home (alone) and head to the ER.
What if it had been a heart attack, for crying out loud?
I figured it was a slow-onset-of-symptoms sort of heart attack. That’s how I rationalized things at the time anyway.
When I stood in front of the receptionist later that day to check myself in at the ER, I never in my wildest dreams considered I might have cancer.
Who would, right?
Regardless, that was the day the shit hit fan.
One thing led to another (you can read the details in my memoir if you want) as the ER doctor ruled out a heart attack.
Then cancer got ‘ruled in’, or more accurately, the possibility of cancer.
Call it intuition or whatever you want, at that point, I think I already knew it was more than a possibility.
After having a CT scan in an almost unbearably cold room, that ER doctor re-entered (for the umpteenth time) the exam room I was anxiously waiting in with a somber expression on his face, and right then and there, I knew it was serious. His demeanor said it all.
“We found a mass (why do they call it that?) in your left breast,” he informed me. “It’s about an inch in diameter.”
I remember thinking, gosh, you don’t wanna waste any time do you?
He said a whole bunch of other things, but I’m not sure what they were. The only words that stuck (and still do) were mass, breast and inch.
Oh and these words, we need to get you in for a diagnostic mammogram right away.
Yeah, I remember those words too and the urgency with which they were said.
I couldn’t help wondering if maybe a heart attack might have been better.
I don’t mean to minimize heart attacks; that’s just the thought that popped into my head at the time.
That was the day the shit hit the fan.
When did the shit first hit the fan for you?
Did you “know” you had cancer before you “knew” for sure?