She rode the hour-long bus from Seoul to the airport and met me in the airport, and then we rode the hour-long bus back in. She’d already had the biopsy, so we went in to talk to the doctor about the result of it. I wasn’t being irrational or anything I didn’t think. I thought they would tell her it was nothing, I expected that. We sat down in this little office, and…
Korean doctor, yeah. I mean, he didn’t speak perfect English, so he didn’t want to… I think he didn’t want anything to be lost in translation. He wanted to be very honest, and be nice, and be comforting, but you know… He struggled. He just says like, “You have – it’s bad. This is not good, you have like a…” you know, he just kind of danced around it for a second, and then just said it. “You have breast cancer.”
She wanted some time with the doctor alone, to sort of discuss what it meant, and what kind of treatment, and how severe it was, and all that, and I just… I just sat in the lobby and, I don’t know, went kind of numb, really…
What was going through your head?
I don’t know, how unfair it was, or how frustrating it was that that happened to her. Yeah, just how unfair that was, I think… So after she was done with the doctor, we went downstairs and had to pay for all the X-rays and all that stuff. Then we left and went and sat outside for a while she called her parents and I called my parents.
I was just thinking that we had to leave Korea as soon as possible, for treatment and all that. She went back to Petrolia, and I moved back to DC.
Wait, so she was in Canada. You weren’t even in the same country.
No… Yeah, it was not easy at all. I had to fly to Detroit and either rent a car or get picked up and then drive across the border, and get hassled by the border guards, and then drive another half hour to her house. The healthcare in Canada is awesome, and healthcare in the States is really good if you have a job that will pay for your healthcare. I didn’t have that, so she couldn’t move here.
All of 2009 was, like, breast cancer treatment. She had a mastectomy. When they were doing that, they found more cancer cells than the lymph node in her armpit, so they removed all of the lymph nodes, mostly as a precaution. They wheeled her into the room and I just, like, walked in. I’m sure that they wanted us to be patient about it, and let her come out of whatever drug-induced fog she’s in because of sedatives or whatever… But you know, I’d had enough of waiting at that point, so I just sort of like walked into the room and made sure that she was all right.
She’s pretty self-sufficient. She often times was comforting me more than I was doing for her, making me feel better about it.
That’s so interesting… I mean, it’s like on top of needing to go through her own emotional gantlet, she’s sort of navigating you through yours.
Yes, but she was that much stronger. It wasn’t a huge burden to her to take care of people. This thing that you love, this perfect thing that you went out and found, that is all yours, and loves you just as much as you love it is now being dissected and taken apart… It just felt really unfair, and sad, and like I feel guilty.
That’s the most comforting stuff for me, when people tell me, “This is probably the worst thing that will happen to you. It’s not going to get better any time soon.” That does so much more for me than somebody who says, “Time heals all wounds.” That’s so worthless, it’s so worthless…
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