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The Face

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Going to the doctor has never been my jam. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen my primary care doctor. Thankfully, I have always been a healthy person and other than the occasional checkup or yearly “lady visit” (which I have always felt should somehow involve an open bar) my relationship with my doctor was uneventful at best.

Recently things have changed.

The last two times I have gone in for what I assumed would be our usual visit was anything but. The first of these visits was because I noticed dimpling on the right side of my breast. At the appointment she ran all the appropriate tests and I was told someone would be getting back to me very soon. Unfortunately, “very soon” ended up being next day while I was walking through the mall. I was picking out a birthday gift for my Aunt when I was told I had breast cancer. The second time I got a “very soon” phone call was when she called me at home to tell me that the pain I was having in my clavicle was because of a fracture due to a tumor. My current diagnosis is metastatic breast cancer. Let’s just say my relationship with my doctor has changed from uneventful to #$&*+@!^#$ !!!

The interesting thing is that before I was given the official word I already knew what they were going to tell me. This is not because some tech in the office leaked information to me, but because of the face. Anyone who was been diagnosed with something life threatening knows the face. It is given by nurses, radiologists, MRI techs, and all the folks that are essential in helping determine a diagnosis. These people are all wonderful and without them I would not be writing this, and it is because they are all such wonderful caring professionals that you can read your diagnosis in their eyes. When they have a life threatening diagnoses that clearly shows on their charts, MRI, CT, or PET scans they will look at you differently. The face is similar to the universal look people have when attending a funeral. It entails ones head to be slightly titled to either side, and eyes lowered, like they are trying to avoid eye contact while simultaneously not wanting to be rude. They will begin to replace your name with “sweetheart” or “honey” all the while looking like they really need to tell you something they can’t. I have become the master of recognizing this look.

Therefore, when my primary care doctor called me….. Deep down inside I already knew. None of this makes hearing you have cancer any easier, but in my case it’s the difference between being shoved down on the ground, rather than being ran over by a car.

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