One of the tiny incisions from my biopsies got infected. The infection wasn't really on my skin, but deep inside where they took a tiny piece of me to make sure that I wasn't sick. This was on my left side, and it burned and ached, and until I finally took a powerful round of antibiotics, it just wouldn't heal. It felt like someone had wrung my heart out, like that left side of me where I feel everything, where I well up when sad and overflow when happy, had been raked across with something foreign and sharp. In a way I guess it had.
My experience so close to cancer is still impossible for me to describe, even to myself. As I walked into the biopsy room, I remember feeling nauseous and detached, like walking into a nightmare you had seen so many times in your sleep that it had somehow lost its punch. But as I lay on the table, face down and forced to be completely still, with my neck balled up in a cramp so powerful I thought I might scream, I started to cry. I couldn't wipe my face or blow my nose. I couldn't shudder. I couldn't move at all. The tears were so many and so strong, I couldn't do a thing about them but hear them drop onto the floor. They seemed to be coming from that same place where the doctor and nurses, who did their best to wipe my nose and face for me, were invading my body. Where I later became infected. Where the heart is.
My biopsy was very very difficult. Many women breeze through it. I wound up fainting on the table when it was all said and done. I awoke on oxygen and the doctor was asking me where my husband was. Could she call him in to help me? And I remember saying No! too harshly and too fast. I probably sounded like I was married to a jerk. But the truth was I could not bear for him to see me like that. It would scare him to tears.
I haven't thought about that moment in a while. My infection is healed and most of my pain is gone. I recently went back to my pilates class for the first time since this all happened. I was laying face down on the equipment, and it all came rushing back to me. As I looked at the floor of the gym, I was once again on that table being invaded. The memory was so powerful I could physically feel the fear and began to sweat. Frozen right there in time. Then I could hear my teacher's voice saying lift up your heart... and I did. And the gratitude that washed over me again was like liquid gold. I lifted up my heart. Again.