He looked the same. Just a little older and thinner. He was having a bad day. I could tell from his drawn expression, confessions from bad news that resulted in long conversations with tearful patients, and apologies to the 2 hour wait to see him.
His buttoned white coat was almost all the way to the very top to his curved collarbone,, but not just quite to reveal his signature bow tie. I wonder what happened to him in the last two years since he cut me open and fought his way through the adhesions and scar tissue from the previous surgeries. How had his life been? How many more women only had he sliced open below the equator? When would I be on the operating table yet again for my body to be at the mercy of his scalpel?
I was prepared for the worse. My prediction: surgery. It always ended up in surgery for me. I already imagined the procedure would be in September as it was in 2 years ago so I could recover in the comfort of Mother Nature’s crisp autumn air and picturesque golden and crimson-colored leaves. I was ready. This was it.
To my shock, a smile stretched on his face when he announced, “No surgery.”
I blinked a couple times. Surely, I heard him wrong. “What?!” I exclaimed.
He started drawing diagrams and explaining about the complex world of cysts: ovarian cysts, multiple cysts, and post-surgical cysts: “Mary, a MRI is the clearest scan there is with the contrast. According to this MRI report, you only have one simple 3cm cyst growing in the ovary and everything around that we were not sure about is post-surgical cysts, lesions, adhesions.”
I sputtered, “How can it be that one scan says two ovarian cysts equivalent to a 10cm tennis ball one week and the other scan says one 3cm a week later? Oh, and why can’t anyone find my left ovary since my hysterectomy?”
He did not have a concrete answer for me and kept trying to explain through diagrams that ovaries are always changing with the eggs, cycles of ovulation, and more. My head was spinning. The body was amazing, confusing, complicated, and, most of all, a real miracle that it kept on going from all these various systems. This has to be a sheer miracle.
He came to the conclusion that it was useless for my body to undergo ultrasounds that always caused and spiked anxiety and confusion from now on and it was best for me to undergo enclosed MRIs filled with banging outer space noises intermingled with headphones blasting classical music in my ears was what I had to do now every 3 months for active monitoring. If the cyst got bigger, well….we would go from there.
I was speechless. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe it. I had spent days agonizing and anticipating the worst case surgical scenario. I had researched and worried to my closest friends who gathered information tirelessly. I was tested twice for Ovarian Cancer after suspected Uterine Cancer that had resulted in my hysterectomy two years ago. For as much bad news and worst case scenarios that I had actually received and endured in my life, I had also received just as much moments of immense greatest news that always left me humbled, awed, and more thankful than could ever be expressed into words or fully described. I always say that it is not that ONE single moment that changes you and your life, but it is many little moments that lie in the anticipation and the aftermath. This was no different. Receiving the best news that completely contradicted with the worst of what I predicted in this situation and others brought on such joy, elation, euphoria, relief, and, most of all, perspectives of magnitude of gratitude that is even greater after the predicted worst case scenario does not come true.
I think we think of the worst so if it happens then we won’t be shocked or surprised and we will feel like we are better able to and equipped to handle it. I think we do not think of the best out of fear of disappointment and let downs. If we can handle the worst then this already feels like beyond the best. Yet, how funny that when the worst case does not happen that this is the best that could ever happen!
Have you ever heard anyone ask: “What is the best that could happen?” I’ve only heard: “What is the worst that can happen?” What if we were to think of what would be the best instead of the worst? Do you tend to imagine the worst case scenario to prepare yourself for it, and have they come true? Why do we immediately think of the worst in the vast majority of cases and even with people? Is it a coping mechanism for if the worst were to happen? Is it to try to ward of disappointment and expectations? When have you thought of the worst only to be surprised by the best?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,