On Thursday my dermatologist found two moles on my back that he said needed to be removed and biopsied. He also asked that I get some blood testing done to check for anemia and a few other things. On Friday afternoon I sat in a hospital lab waiting room and my mind began to go to a not-so-happy place. I feel fairly confident that the moles aren't melanoma and I seriously doubt that my blood tests will show that I have anything more serious than anemia but there of course is that tiny little chance that I'm wrong. And even if I'm right the whole thing was serving as a reminder of how vulnerable we all are in regards to our health. A little voice in my head kept asking me, "What if you did get really sick? Who would take care of you? Who would hold your hand through the whole thing? Who would help you with your son?"
The little voice was more than annoying. It was making me depressed and worse yet it was making me a little scared. It was just after two in the afternoon and I knew most of my friends were at work so I sent a light-hearted text to a friend in NY hoping that if I could engage him in some humorous banter I would be able to distract myself and feel, at least at that moment, a little less alone. Unfortunately he was also busy (most likely still at work) so in the end I made friends with the woman filling out my paperwork and I joked around with the lab tech who was taking my blood...but that was totally a surface thing. I didn't know these people and my assumed joviality was only mildly distracting. The spark of fear that I was masking was most definitely still there.
So I left the lab feeling incredibly down. I put on a happy face for my son when I picked him up from speech therapy but I wasn't feeling it. And then on my way to Costco my friend Brenda called from the Bay Area. She told me about how much my last email to her had made her laugh during what had apparently been a challenging few weeks for her. We talked about her work and various other things and although I never mentioned the moles or any of the rest of it I felt MUCH better because I was reminded that if I was ever truly in need Brenda would absolutely be there for me regardless of how far away she lived. I've known her since we were kids and I have ALWAYS been able to count on her. About a half hour after I hung up the phone my friend Robin called and invited me out for dinner and margaritas. The timing of the invitation couldn't have been much better. Robin's a breast cancer survivor and I did tell her about my concerns. She nodded her understanding and then smiled. "Well," she said, "you live pretty close to the hospital. You could walk to chemo!" That was enough to make me giggle and again I felt myself relaxing because I knew that Robin had my back...which reminded me that my friend Kim did as well as does my friend Mika who lives about ten minutes away from me and several others who live throughout the state and even in other countries.
I'm not in a committed romantic relationship. Currently there is no guy who I can lean on in the unlikely event that my health were to take a dramatic turn for the worse. But I have such a strong network of friends it doesn't really matter so much. The little voice that was bothering me while I sat in that waiting room wasn't really worried about my health anyway. It was worried about being alone. And that's one concern I can put to rest. I'm not alone at all. I don't think I ever have been.
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