As soon as I was able to compose myself, I called my brother George to ask if he could speak with someone affiliated with the Comprehensive Cancer Center who could get me an appointment asap. George was my logical choice since he was on the board of directors at the UW hospital. When he returned my call, he was able to give me the first glimmer of good news: I had an appointment on July 8th with a gynecological oncologist, a job title that I never thought would enter my vocabulary.
During the Fourth of July holiday my husband, Jim, and I had planned on hosting a birthday party for our granddaughter who was turning one. Setting up for Piper's birthday occupied my mind and body, but lurking behind each moment was the foreboding reality that I was coming face-to-face with the terrifying unknown of cancer. I could only distract myself for a limited amount of time before another unanswerable question would pop into my conscious thought. Most of these questions would begin with a "What if" and end with a sharp shiver of dread running through my body.
During those endless days of waiting, I prayed for strength and a sense of peace as I traveled along this dark and mysterious part of my journey. I was in a state of limbo, feeling like I was walking through Jell-o in slow motion. My days felt like a cocktail of fear, anxiety and Jell-o.
When filling out the paperwork for admission on the morning of the 8th, I was casually informed that I was also scheduled for surgery early the next morning. Initially I wondered who had determined that I would need surgery before being seen by any doctor there, but then I figured that all my test results had already arrived and surgery must have been deemed necessary. I immediately felt in capable hands, even though the only person I had contact with was the admissions clerk. I remember trying to read the form she was filling out. Being a primary teacher has its perks, one being that I was highly skilled at reading upside down print. I read something foreign to me, so I leaned over to Jim and asked, "What's a bowel prep?"