My mouth was full of toothpaste when the phone rang yesterday morning. I didn’t recognize the number, but by the time I spit and answered, the call had gone to voice mail. I rolled my eyes, stuck the toothbrush back into my mouth and only when I was foaming like a rabid squirrel (squirrel!) did I realize it might be my doctor with the pathology results from the biopsy. With that single thought, my world stopped. I stared in the bathroom mirror for another moment, took a deep breath, and hit voice mail.
Honestly I had to listen to it twice because the first time I heard this:
“Blah blah blah Doctor blather blather blah pathology results blah blah blather
blah blah blah blahdy blah biopsy blah blather good news blah blah blather blather
blather blah BENIGN blah blibbity blah at your followup blahdy blather blah.”
Not that the second time did much more than add a few more words, but it ensured I heard the results correctly — and I could start breathing again.
And this was the next five minutes of my life, in order: Told TheCop in person. Texted family. Posted to Twittersphere. And, yes, posted to Facebook (gah) because so many of you are there and therefore, yes, that makes it important.
Finally, I let the tears come.
We here in the Robin2go camp are breathing the sweet air of relief, believe you me. While this is still a terror of possibility that I’ll continue to carry with me, for now it is not a clear and present danger, and for that I am grateful.
And I am so grateful for you. For the very public displays of affection you’ve put out there for the world to see, but also for those private ones that the rest of the world did not see. They all helped pull me through the fear and and loneliness of waiting through the not knowing. The DMs. The texts. The morning bacon sessions. The Facebook groups. The Tumblr of very personal photos where a certain group of you exposed yourselves in a private show of solidarity that brought me to my knees sobbing because I felt so alone and I wasn’t sure if I could take that next step by myself.
You made sure I didn’t have to.
I wish I could show the world your bravery (but I won’t so DON’T PANIC!), and I will be forever grateful that I have friends — women AND men — who would take the time to show me in such a revealing display that I wasn’t alone. (By the way, rest assured I was able to identify each and every one of you and your, ahem, assets, and you will get your rewards when next I see you face to face … so to speak.) The thoughts. The prayers. The hugs of unspoken empathy and understanding from those of you who have been where I’m standing but whose results forced you down a different path of torturous chemicals and radiation before you won your fight. And the memories of those of you who didn’t win your fight, but are still with me. You lived the lives you had left with dignity, determination, and grace. I miss you terribly.
I am overwhelmed and grateful to each and every one of you. I continue to believe in the power of social media because it extends my community to envelop the world, which in turn wraps me in your arms even when you’re not here with me. For better or worse, I believe in my responsibility to be as authentic and transparent with you as I can possibly be, because you have brought me through a cold, dark, and scary place with warmth, light, and love. Thank you from the bottom of my murky heart.
I may regret many things in my life, but I will never regret this. I will never regret sharing my life out in the open with you, because it makes me so much the richer for it — even when it is uncomfortable. Perhaps especially when it’s uncomfortable. Thank you for proving that day after day after day.
Never regret living. Out loud.