As she lay motionless on the operating table, watching the nurse with the red hair and comforting blue eyes tap tap tap lightly the tube of meds about to enter her left hand, her mind wondered into the future.
She saw a tall, handsome, blurry-faced young man sitting beside her on an airplane. Her heart raced towards their destination and her lips parted towards his kiss. He, without a doubt, loved and adored her more than she knew. More than she could ever have hoped.
"You'll feel a cool sensation in your arm," Nurse Red-Head interrupted.
She nodded and forced her stare to the tile ceiling. Just as her mind struggled to find the young man once again, the nurse whispered, "Now, count backwards from ten."
Various scenes flashed before her eyes.
Some from the future. Some from the past.
"Ten..." Her voice sputtered.
-A white dress.
"Nine..." She hesitated a bit.
-The handsome young man waiting at the end of the aisle with a love steady in times of fullness and emptiness.
"Eight..." Her voice more steady and firm.
-A home. Built of brick, stone, wood, or clay...it didn't really matter as long as HE was with her.
"Seven..." She said in a normal voice, but was sound still coming from her mouth? She didn't know and didn't care.
-A child. Or two. Or three. Or none. As long as she had the chance to try.
"Six..." She whispered, as the sound seemed to come from her ears.
-Her parents. All three of them. Two of which hadn't spoken civilized to one another in nearly two decades; yet together they sat in a waiting room down the hall in support of their first born daughter. And, the third, at work, trying to concentrate as 'his' (in every way that's worth noting) daughter underwent surgery. A surgery that could have so many different outcomes.
"Five..." Now, it seemed her nose was doing the whispering.
-Her Grandma C., sitting on Grandpa C's lap, eating dinner, as they had for nearly 40years prior. Prior to Grandma's passing the year before.
"Four..." Her feet? Could her feet be counting?
-A beautiful little girl with long dark hair and captivating eyes, climbing over a chain link fence.
"Three...", said her fingertips.
-The many mistakes (and by many, I mean MANY) she made in the past and a silent promise to change.
"Two...", said her tongue.
-A large tree with millions of green, yellow and red leaves, swaying back and forth.
"One..." Her eyes spoke with concern and worry.
-Many Dr.'s visits. Ultrasounds. Mammograms. Biopsies. More ultrasounds. It all came down to this moment. This Lumpectomy on her left breast.
She felt a thickness in her throat. She tried to breath, talk and scream all at once. Nurse Curly Black Hair held her chin and tugged on the tube that seemed to swallow her esophagus.
"Mom? Where's my Mom? I'm hungry." Was all she could think to say.
"The dr. thinks she got it all. She'll call you with the results," her Mom said with a slightly shakier voice than normal.
As I look back on that Monday, 8 years ago, I remember the emotional recovery. The 'not knowing' was the hardest part. My Mom had an inside hook up in Pathology who leaked the news before the dr had a chance to call.
Benign Fibro Adenoma Tumer.
My scar healed quickly, but my soul took a bit longer.
I didn't deserve BENIGN. The way I was living my life, even 24hours before surgery, I didn't deserve it. I lived in a constant state of disrespect. I disrespected my body, my mind, my parents, my job, my employees, my education, my relationships. I hated life and everything in it. I trusted no one. I mean NO ONE. I not only wasn't on the right path for my life, I was in a messy jungle of wishes, wants and desires, with absolutely no direction or means to achieve my goals, short nor long term.
She was me. I was her. August 20, 2001.
Then, 22 days later, on September 11, 2001, I became 'me'. Well, at least, the beginnings of 'me'. And, only now, do I know and understand why 'I' was given the chance to live this 'benign' life.
...to be continued.