I'm not sure where would be the best place to hear the news that you have cancer, but I can promise you it isn't in the checkout line at Academy Sports, especially mid-transaction. I had just run my debit card through the machine when I got the call. I walked away from the checkout, leaving my daughter there to complete the volleyball shoe purchase on her own. Luckily, the little snoop already knew my PIN number. I pressed the phone to my ear, holding the other ear with my finger, trying desperately to hear what the doctor was saying, because all I was hearing was the "wah wah wah wah wah" voice of Charlie Brown's teacher on a Peanuts special. I walked into the entryway, thinking it would be quieter there. Crash! An employee brought carts in from the parking lot. I kept apologizing to the doctor because I couldn't hear him, although I think it was probably more of a comprehension issue. Because this was incomprehensible to me.
My daughter had joined me by this time, so I told the doctor I would go to my car, where it would be quieter. Except I couldn't find the car. My daughter pointed out the car, pushing me towards it, but I said, "That's not my car! That's my license plate, but that's not my car!" (Whadya know? It WAS my car....) The poor doctor was so very patient with me. I'm going to guess that my reaction was mild compared to what he might get from other patients doing what must be the suckiest part of his job. I sat in the car, listening to his "wah wah wah" and not absorbing any of it, other than that it was small, slow-growing, and caught early. There was other stuff about it being estrogen receptive and chemotherapy may or may not be necessary that I just couldn't absorb. He told me his office would contact the plastic surgeon and get back to me with a surgery date. I hung up, started the car, and headed for home.
It was strangely quiet in the back seat. My nonstop talker only asked if it were bad, and I told her I wanted to wait until I got home to talk about it, because I only wanted to say it one time. Once home, I called my husband and son back from playing tennis, sat everyone down, and told them. I was unbelievably upbeat about it, promising the kids that their activities would continue as planned. They would still have tennis and volleyball and dance class and prom and mission trips. We would figure out the logistics somehow. I didn't cry until I was alone, as I sent an email to three of my dearest friends from high school, telling them I had cancer.