Surgery has been delayed until 2pm today. there was a scheduling snafu on the part of my surgeon’s office. So, after considering moving me to a private hospital room for the rest of the morning, I was given the option of going home and coming back at 1pm, which I gladly accepted. I appreciated the fact that Dr. Beatty came to explain the situation and to apologize in person, rather than making someone else deliver the bad news. Can you imagine how upset people must get?

John and I talked in the car on the way home about how well we have been coping with my cancer, as a couple. Despite the increased stress, we’ve been bickering less. I hope we are able to maintain this but I know it will be harder as time goes on. In my experience, being civil to one another is often hardest for families after the acute medical crisis has been resolved. They stop holding their breath, relax a little, and then the emotions can come crashing down. John and I decided to be mindful of this and to try hard to forgive each other and ourselves, when and if this happens.

Being angry and upset requires a lot of energy. I’m devoting so much right now to coping with my illness and functioning as a parent, wife, and professional. I don’t have enough left over to have a hissy fit. Anxiety does find its way in. But honestly, waiting for a delayed surgery this afternoon is not as stressful as waiting for Dr. Beatty’s phone call with my PEM results last night.

Dr. Beatty felt pretty apologetic. He even patted my shoulder, which I would guess is surgeon’s version of an outpouring of emotion. I tease because I love. I am in awe of anyone who has the emotional control, concentration, and technical skill required for surgery. Plus, I find a more professional, calm, straight-forward, and sincere apology to be more reassuring than what some of the health providers do. A few of them, physicians included, over-apologize and do so with distress in their voice. Not to mention the fact that they are apologizing for doing their job, which may result in my feeling some discomfort. The reasons I don’t like it are because their distress, makes me feel a little distress, and when accompanied by all of the apologies, communicates a lack of confidence. The first time I encountered this was with the radiation oncologist who diagnosed my cancer. Obviously, she knew what she was doing because she found my main invasive cancer tumor through a diagnostic mammogram, despite my breasts’ vampire-like resistance to getting their pictures taken using standard imaging techniques. She kept apologizing while she was doing the core biopsy, when she injected the lidocane and with each time she collected a tissue sample. It wasn’t as if I was wincing or anything or that it was really all that bad. I fought the temptation to tell her, “I think you are a very good physician and I appreciate your attention to my comfort. Please don’t apologize so much. It makes me think it should hurt and that you think you are doing something wrong. I understand that you are doing your job.” I don’t think it would have gone over well, though. She needs to hang out with a dentist or something. “There’s going to be a stick. Okay, now we’re done.”

But back to Dr. Beatty’s apology. Who knows? Maybe he’ll throw in an extra during surgery today. Maybe he can give me a lightening bolt shaped scar. I could use it professionally, as a rapport-builder with my patients who love Harry Potter. What a great way to build my business back up after I go back to work full-time!