I Wept Alone In the Car

Zine from the CancerGram 8 of 18, depicting events of my diagnosis date, June 30, 2016.

As I walked out of the medical center I started to weep. It was a hot hot day in Phoenix so I got in the car and ran the AC. I just wept. I thought about how sad it would be to tell my mother. I thought about calling other people, but I knew that I needed to call mom first. I just couldn’t yet. I sobbed over the idea of dying before her.

I needed some time and some lunch. I decided to go for sushi. I had been weeping so I kept my sunglasses on and sat near the window. I ate alone and wrote in my journal. As I found clarity, I looked up the American Cancer Society. I saw they had a helpline.

After lunch I went back to the car and called. They were super nice. I cried and cried. I read them everything on the pathology report and they told me what it meant. It was bad. It didn’t say what stage it was, because staging cancer is about how far it has spread. The details of the report were about how big the tumors were and how dense or well developed the cancer cells had before. It was bad news. Cancer in all three biopsy samples that were each 8/10 gleasons — well developed. They stayed on the phone with me for like an hour and answered all my questions. It made a huge difference.

When I understood it all better and had calmed down a bit, I felt like I could call mom. It was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had. But she loved me through it.