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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: September 2016

1 - A View from Three Places

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Summary

October 10, 2010

Dr. Weisman's office was painted in calming tones, and Janet focused on a colorful work of abstract art hanging on the wall behind the doctor's desk.

“What do you think it means?” Janet asked, pointing to the picture. She and Michelle had been together for twenty years through good times and bad. Michelle loved art and Janet hoped the distraction might calm her.

Michelle looked carefully, “I'm not sure. It looks like … well, kind of like, music.”

A moment later Dr. Weisman appeared and walked around to his desk. “You have a heck of an eye,” Dr. Weisman said, looking at Michelle. “It's a reprint of a Kandinsky piece and some experts think it's an attempt to represent music on canvas.” Michelle smiled.

Dr. Weisman's tone became more serious. “I have good news and bad news. But the good news is pretty good. It's not stage III.”

Michelle and Janet sighed in relief. “So what is it?” Janet asked.

Dr. Weisman took a deep breath, “Michelle has stage II ovarian cancer.” Janet held Michelle's hand as Michelle began to cry. Michelle's heart raced and she started to hyperventilate. Janet put her arm around Michelle, trying to calm her even though Janet wanted to burst into tears herself.

Dr. Weisman gave them some time to recover. When he next spoke, his voice was soothing. “I know this is not what you wanted, but it can be treated and it has not spread outside of the ovaries and uterus.”

Michelle wiped her eyes. “Will I be okay?”

Dr. Weisman nodded, “The prognosis is good in most of these cases. We will need to operate, but since it hasn't spread very far we should be able to knock it out with surgery and several rounds of chemo. The chances of long-term survival are good, but we need to move as quickly as possible to make sure it doesn't spread farther.”

Michelle seemed more at ease. Janet was ecstatic that the prognosis was good. Michelle would be okay. Nothing else mattered. It had only been a week or two, but it seemed like an eternity since the irregular test came back and then the follow-up showed signs of cancer. Janet and Michelle were powerless to do anything while they waited, but now they knew it was treatable.