"You have a lump."
The Gynecologist has a toy poodle that she has dressed in plum colored scrubs and is cradling in one arm so the pooch can lick the outer rim of her gold wire frame glasses while she tells me this potentially life-altering news.
She places the dog on the floor next to her, pulls back my mocking paisley paper gown worn only for the veil of modesty, looks down her nose, and begins poking her fingers along the outside of my right breast .
"It's here, on the outer part of the breast."
She takes my left hand, still cold from the chill of the February morning, and guides my fingers until I feel something like a small pebble.
“It's rather pronounced. Could be a fibroid. But I'm going to ask you to get it looked at right away. Considering the family history.”
She sits down on a stool facing me, tells me to “scootch your bum to the end of the chair” and lean back.
I would be lost in useless thought about the cost of prosthetic bras, if precious wasn’t awkwardly licking at my toes while he rests on the Doctors shoulder.
“Oh my little precious. Oh my little sweetie. No Precious. Precious, no!”
Dear Lord, what was that dog doing while I lay with my feet in the air, my genitals exposed to the world, my heart racing at the thought of a life alone with my one boob in some nursing home for the constitutionally incapable of long term relationships.
“There is a good little baby.” And her words are muffled with wet doggy kisses and the remnants of my toe jam.
“All done here.”
She releases me from the prison of the metal foot clamps, pulls the rubber gloves off her bony fingers, opens the garbage lid with one clog and drops the gloves with little precision.
“So, about the lump. My Mom and my Grandma, they both had breast cancer.”
"Yes, you had mentioned that already. Another reason to not wait too long.”
For a minute, I wished I wasn’t single. I wished there was someone waiting for me at home that would take care of me, wouldn’t leave when I lost my hair and knew how beautiful my breasts were before the mastectomy.
My reckless revelry was banished by the Doctor’s high pitched shriek. “Precious. Put that down precious. Precious. I said no.”
Precious had found a finger of the wayward glove that only moments before had gone where no man had gone before. Or at least in a very long time. And precious was now cavorting around the exam room with Dr. Bony hands in quick pursuit.
I just want to put my clothes on, escape and find a place to cry. A bad week, bad news and now a bad headache coming on – but instead I am laughing.
The Doctor catches Precious and a charade ensues where precious pretends to limp to gain the Doctor’s sympathy.
“She is so dramatic. She just wants constant attention.”
The doctor sighs, rolls Precious onto her back and scratches her belly.
“I keep telling her that someday she will really be hurting and I wont be able to tell. Isn't that right my little faker. Oh yes Princess Dramatic, my 'lil Ms. Oscar worthy, Mommy doesn't have enough sympathy to fill your pity pot.”
I clear my throat. I really want to take off the paper smock and put back on my wool tights.
“Okay then. I’ll see you when your results come back. Good day.”
And she swoops up Precious and backs out of the room, firmly shutting the door behind her.
I decide not to cry.
I’ll go back to work. I’ll call a few friends. I’ll go on my date tonight. I’ll wait for the results before I determine the poetry I would like read at my funeral.
For now, it is just a lump.