On the day I turned 42, 18 days ago now, I thought I had a tumor. And not just any tumor but another adrenal tumor, the kind they cut my body in half and sawed off a rib to remove 15 years ago, during the first year of my marriage. I didn't handle this recent news with the grace my stepmother did when she was diagnosed with cancer or my mother-in-law when her too young husband died too soon or the friends I know who are currently battling life-threatening illness with grace, strength and even charm.
No, I crumbled. Wailed. Heaved. Sobbed. Moaned. Threw myself into it, too. As part of their super scientific testing methods, the endocrinologist had me stay home a nd pee in a jug for 24 hours. I slept, cried, watched Outlander, obsessed over Jamie in his kilt (you're welcome) and cried pretty much nonstop. But throughout the day my beloved work wife, Bird, texted me haikus** about peeing to cheer me up. They are brilliant. I think I'm going to make them into a bathroom book.
On Monday I got the call from my endocrinologist. No tumor, just high blood pressure. Maybe medication but surely not imminent death. Bird cried with relief when I told her and I wondered if tumor or not, I had just needed that big soul emptying cry myself. It seems my body does that every couple of weeks whether I've received bad news or not. I can't store tears for long, they find ways to leak out. I'm lucky, my mom says. She's jealous of my ability to cry.
I haven't cried since. We spent a week at a beach courtesy of my mother-in-law, literally called Pleasure Island. I soaked up every luxurious bit of it, relaxing deeply into the sand or ocean or pool chair as if they were built to form around me. I spent hours and hours in the ocean dissolving all the sweat and tears, letting my body do what only it knows how to do.
**Haikus About Peeing
by Bird Cox
F*** with me today
And you'll be slurping something
That's not chicken soup
Beasts of earth, behold
the liquid of my loins!
I command rivers!
I'm the femme Biggie
Boys peepee when they see me,
Creep on my teepee
I killed the last man
who used the phrase "to tinkle."
Bathroom's on the left.