Easter was wonderful but I have to admit that I feared I wouldn’t be able to pull it off right up until the moment dinner was served. I stood in the kitchen barefoot most of the morning always behind schedule. Between peeling potatoes, I helped Madeleine drill holes into the bottom of candles so we could insert nails, hot glue gun them in place and have them ready for the tiny pots of grass. Jelly beans thrown on the table for color and a final count of plates and chairs. When Colleen arrived I really wasn’t sure at all if the lamb would be done in time. Lisa kept Rob busy up in her apartment roasting asparagus just in case he unwittingly tripped my temper. After 18 years, we’ve all learned where most of the trip lines are located. It all folded together with the help of Madeleine, Julia, Lisa, Colleen my brother Rob… even my Dad. Admittedly, it wasn’t perfect but the truth is it never was. Today I’m sitting here with flowering branches over my desk and a bouquet of Irises in the corner by the mirror that are just beautiful. For lunch for the past two days I’ve eaten egg salad. Colored eggshells amuse me as I prepare my midday meal. It was worth the effort and fretting. I think I made the best Easter dinner ever… the photo doesn’t do it justice.
Today I started packing for a trip to Florida I’m taking with Colleen. We’re going for a spa weekend, which we both desperately need. I’ve been trying on my summer clothes and found where the peppermint patties I indulged in over the winter settled. I am far from pleased. If this is the only problem I have this month I’m OK. Two years ago it was right about now I had the biopsy taken of the lump in my breast. Papillary lesions the doctor told me when they examined the tissue. The words meant nothing to me but her face told me it was serious. I remember walking home from her office through Union Square Park. My only desire was to get home and yet the world passed by in slow motion. The park was in bloom with daffodils and tulips and it seemed that everyone was out in the sunshine. As I passed park benches I could hear snippets of conversation.
“No way. I don’t think she said that.”
“I don’t care what he said.”
I waded through the crowds, through the conversations. Each step taking what felt like years getting me closer to home, closer to my computer, closer to the phone, closer to the tears that would fall from my face in disbelief. It was Vita who said, “Papillary lesions are nothing. Don’t get hysterical just get them removed.” She was right and she calmed me down as by the time we spoke I felt like a cat with its hair on end. I had typed so many words into my computer that I fell into the rabbit hole of cancer speak. I was convinced I was just hours away from death.
“Get off the computer,” Vita said with an air of authority. I did as I was already dizzy with unknowing and frightened by what little I actually understood.
Papillary lesions are benign but in 1 to 3 percent of cases they can harbor adjacent atypical ductal hyperplasia and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). I should have bought a lottery ticket that day. My 97% chance of the lump being nothing was confirmed as something two weeks later. It was smaller than 2mm but it changed my life.
Colleen and I agreed we would begin to walk off the extra pounds earned over the winter. We’re packing sun screen and bathing suits. She has a dream of an alcoholic beverage with an umbrella in it. I have a dream of listening to the water hit the shore. We both agreed we need a rest.