Jim and I were married in July 1979 during my summer vacation. In August I was to begin teaching second grade at a different school, so there many new adjustments for me. I set up my new classroom several weeks before school began, during which I had the opportunity to meet a lot of my new colleagues. The teachers I met greeted me with a genuine warmth, putting me at ease about being the new kid on the block. The year began smoothly at home and at school, with each of us settling into our new routine. It seemed as though everything was gently falling into place.
My parents were both retired and had begun spending the winter months in Florida. We were happy to take care of their dog during these months, especially Jessica since she had always put a dog at the top of her wish list, and this was a chance to experience the real sense of being responsible for the daily upkeep of a pet. Several weeks before leaving for the winter, my mom called to talk about us taking care of Willy and to also ask me a favor...she wanted me to go to my family practice doctor and have him check out a mole that she had noticed on the side of my neck. The mole actually looked innocent to me, so I questioned why she felt the need for me to have it checked out. After explaining how she wanted to leave for Florida no lingering thoughts about the mole, I reluctantly agreed to make the appointment.
My regular doctor was away for several days, so one of his colleagues met with me. He thought it was best to be safe and have the mole tested. When I returned a few days later to have the stitches removed, this same substitute calmly asked, "They called you with the results, right?" "Nobody called me about any results," I said. "Oh well, it's malignant, so we will have to set up a date for the surgery." I was in a state of complete shock, nearly falling off the examination table! How could he seem so cold and unemotional while delivering such serious news? He was acting as though he was delivering a weather report...totally unacceptable! There wasn't anyone with me, so I needed to drive myself home with my mind in total disarray. I kept reminding myself to drive slowly and carefully to avoid an accident.
How could this be happening to me again?