The surgeon is patient and kind. “We’ll sort out your breast cancer” he says. I am a bit perplexed thinking “but I don’t have breast cancer”. At least I didn’t this morning.
We don’t have the cytology results, so I still cling to hope that all the Doctors so far are wrong. Let’s not forget that I don’t get cancer. This isn’t my story.
I undress and he palpates my breasts. I apologise as I’ve tried to feed the baby on the suspect breast but he wasn’t very interested.
“This is a normal breast”, he says, palpating the left one, “but this is not”. He gestures to the right.
“Oh”, I think, “how can you be so sure?”
Along the wall is a shelf of implants and for some reason I want to touch them. I wonder, just for an instant, why a breast cancer surgeon needs implants, he’s not a plastic surgeon doing boob jobs.
Then I realise. He shows us the images from the ultrasound. An area of calcification glows in the right breast. “Could that just be chronic inflammation?” I ask. “Unlikely” he says. That’s the tumour. He reassures me that women with breast cancer confined to their breast and axillary lymph nodes are very treatable.
Already I am convinced I will die, and die soon. We make an appointment for Monday to hear the cytology results.
Sunday is my 42nd birthday.
We go to collect their children we’ve left with my friends, meeting them at a public night-market. My baby leaps into my arms and paws at my top. I begin breastfeeding and the tears come.