"Yes, that's me." I followed the nurse through long shiny hallways, beyond rooms with pristine medical equipment. Finally she sat me down in a chair against a wall, facing a room with an MRI machine. She flipped through some papers, and, in medical jargon, explained what we'd be doing that day.
I remember only two things:
1. I needed to drink a chalky substance.
2. There'd be a two-hour break mid-day. Something about before-and-after scans.
Let's start with the chalky substance:
The nurse asked questions, checked my vitals, took blood, then disappeared.
Minutes later, she returned, shaking a jug of chalky substance, something I'd have to chug.
"So," she said, looking to make a little small talk, "Have they started your chemotherapy yet?"
What? Chemotherapy? Nobody said...what?
She stopped jiggling the potion and stared at me.
"I don't need chemotherapy..." I said, stammering. "Unless...unless you know something I don't know..."
Her eyes widened. She stepped backwards and began to explain.
"No, no," she said. "I don't know something you don't know. It's just that most patients they send to us are already in chemotherapy...."
Too late. The damage was done. Like tempered glass that had been smacked, I felt the network of cracks expanding within me. Moments later, I was in a heap, sobbing.
Until she said that, I really hadn't considered that this could have been cancer.
After that, everything felt surreal.
Before you knew it, the initial testing was done. They ushered me off with instructions to return in two hours to complete the testing.
Head swirling, I followed the exit signs down the long shiny hallway and past the pristine medical machines. Finally, I saw a sign for the waiting room, quickened my steps and flung the door open.
I remembered how I'd almost come to this appointment alone and the divine whispers that prompted me to accept Rhonda's help.
And I thanked God she was there. (Click here to read that part of the story.)