It’s true. The University of Michigan Hospital – being the gigantic institution that it is – simply TELLS you when you have an appointment, so I’ve received notification that I’m to come in on Thursday to learn what my genetic test results indicate.
Though the day I provided the necessary blood sample was a bit sobering, the test has largely been out of my mind in the interim – a good thing, since worrying would influence the outcome not at all. Yet what I’ve found surprising is my readiness, my outright eagerness, to tell people that I’ve had the test and am awaiting the results. I’m not sure why this behavior has kicked in. Maybe I feel like the more times I talk about it, the more I’m absorbing the reality, and thus preparing myself mentally for either possible outcome.
In a way, I feel like whichever answer I get, I’ll reflexively think, “I knew it!” As in, “I knew the family history was too dominant for me to escape this,” or else, “I knew I was kvetching needlessly.” Inevitably, either response will be emotionally dishonest, since I have never found myself to have great (or any) powers of intuition.
As it happens, my grad school girlfriends are gathering in nearby Bowling Green this weekend to hang out and get to know the newest member of the sisterhood, five month old Mimi. Yet because my friend Sophie is rolling into town a little early, she’s offered to go with me to my appointment on Thursday. I know this is no small favor, but she’s willing, and I’ll be grateful to have a friend’s hand to hold as I get the news. (Joe would go if I asked him, I know, but since Sophie has offered, she’ll be my escort.)
In general, these few days will be fraught with all kinds of emotional landmines. In addition to the genetic test results coming in this week, Saturday marks the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. I’ve proposed that my girlfriends and I have a baby shower on that day for my best friend, Kim, who’s a couple of months away from introducing a boy, Samuel, to the world. My mother loved Kim, and ALWAYS loved babies, so it will be nice to not only be surrounded by friends on this day, but to celebrate and focus on new life. Plus, I know that if the genetic test news is bad, my friends’ conversation and company will inevitably buoy my spirits.
I’ve been fairly busy at work after getting back into our regular daycare routine, but even so, my anticipation of Thursday’s appointment grows stronger each day. I’ve lately been thinking that if the results are positive, I’ll yearn for this time when I didn’t know. When there was only a vague sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop rather than being pretty sure it would, and being filled with a constant, existential dread.
But even if I end up facing this, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m lucky. I have terrific people around me who will help me make the right decision about what I do from here; I have a husband who I know will stand by me no matter what lies ahead; and I have a happy and healthy and hysterical little girl who thinks I’m the bomb. So hopefully, with all this in my favor, I’ll figure out what to do. (And I’m also lucky in that my insurance is covering the entire, outrageous $3,000 cost for the test. Only one place in the country, in Utah, performs the test, so they appear to be milking it for the time being. But thankfully, as I noted, I’m covered.)
Of course, if the results are negative, I’ll have reason to celebrate with my fabulous friends. Lots of wine and chocolate would be involved, I think…