Little things continue to surprise me. The nurse who rubbed my back during this morning’s biopsy, the technician who held my hand and offered words of encouragement. I am reminded how meaningful these small gestures are. Everyone is so kind to me, and I wonder if this is unusual, or simply the way healthcare professionals behave. It’s not always true, is it? Doctors can be distant and abrupt with patients. Nurses too. But I’m not seeing that. Everyone is so gentle and kind and there’s a part of me that wants to say, “It’s okay. I’m not going to die.”
The morning’s MRI-assisted biopsy was a procedure I had been dreading. I had a harder time than I expected with my first biopsy, and I wasn’t looking forward to repeating the experience. I tried to steady my breathing, practice a little guided imagery, but instead of picturing myself wading into the surf at Avila Beach, I found myself wondering who invented the MRI and why. Seriously, it’s a complicated gadget. And someone had to imagine it and imagine what it could do.
I’m only half joking about the guided imagery. The social worker at my plastic surgeon’s office swears it will change my entire surgical experience. She said patients who embrace it have an easier time with the anesthesia and pain management post surgery. I want to have an easier time.
A friend sent me Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book and my 12-year-old nephew chose pink rubber bands on his braces for breast cancer awareness. My son is opening doors for me and reaching into the high cabinets, he’s bringing me ice packs and keeping my water glass full. Kindnesses. Big and small.
I want to crawl into bed and sleep away the discomfort. I want to fall asleep to the sound of pounding surf and wake to feel the warm sun on my face. I want to be far away from doctors and nurses and cancer and I want today to be tomorrow to be six months from now.
But that’s not going to happen.
So I’ll give myself up to the kindness of strangers, I’ll rest today and let the people who love me take care of me. I won’t let a single gesture go unnoticed — because there is goodness in the shadow of bad, and hope in the little things.