For the next four days I would begin preparing myself for the worst. Many people in my life do not understand why I do this. They think I shouldn’t torture myself with it and try to be optimistic. I used to explain to them that if you plan for the worst possible scenario, if you can mentally prepare yourself to go through hell, then whatever life has to throw at you cannot possibly defeat you. I realize now as I’m reading back through this how ludicrous that game plan truly is. The worst possible scenario is usually not something we can even imagine. It exists outside that realm of understanding.
To mentally prepare I began embracing the fact that I would be one-eyed Willy from the Goonies; except with a better outfit and way cooler eye patch. If I had cancer I would need chemo. Of all the disfigurements that I have had to consider throughout this process the hardest one to accept was the possibility of losing my hair. It’s blonde, it’s long, I love it. When I was a tall skinny kid with acne, braces, and coke bottle glasses my hair was the only thing I found remotely attractive about myself. There was no way anything that came in “natural” or “acrylic” could live up to my locks so I took a cue from Samantha Jones and began looking at pastel washed wigs. I had always wanted to dye my hair a crazy color, now would be the perfect time to express my inner Nikki Manaj. By the time Thursday rolled around and it was time to get my results I was ready. I had imagined my life in every possible cancer scenario, embraced it, and let it go. I had called Dr. O’s office ahead of time to ask if we could talk first about the results before my parents and boyfriend were allowed in the room. I’m not sure now why I wanted to hear the results alone. I think that it was some way of proving to myself how tough I was. That I could do this alone if I needed to. I remember gripping the armrests of the chair, crossing my legs, sitting up straight and squaring off with Dr. O. I probably had a challenging look on my face, daring him to tell me this tumor was malignant. In the movie version of this story, Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” would have been playing in the background.
At this point I had not learned the valuable lesson that trying to do everything alone was a bad strategy. You’re going to run up against obstacles in life for which you are not equipped and that’s when you are going to need a group of misfits around you that can handle the unexpected. Someone to play the “bones,” speak Spanish to the housekeeper so you “no sign!” and most importantly someone to dance the truffle shuffle. If you have left everyone behind in the waiting room there’s going to be no one around to help you. You need your own pack of Goonies. Goonies never say die.