Cancer Lesson #80: Planning for a Day I Hope Never Comes

Cancer Lesson #80: Planning for a day I hope never comes.

I wouldn’t tell my daughter right away. She was graduating college five days after my appointment. How could I ruin the occasion?
Should I take an extended sick leave this time? How would that affect my retirement?
What about my bike trip? Could I put off treatment until I returned?
My soccer cleats and shin guards needed replaced, but I’d do that when I knew I’d get the chance to wear out both.

Once again, it was time for my mammogram and oncology check-up.
Once again, I was convinced the test would find cancer.

I’m not a hypochondriac, though my thoughts before my appointment might make you think otherwise.  After jumping to the wrong conclusion (cancer) several times in the last few years, I refuse to do it again. I decided unless cancer re-presented itself in a way that brooked no disagreement, I won’t make myself crazy looking for it.

At 55, my body is changing (without my permission and certainly not for the better!). Because I’m reasonably active — no marathons in my future (or past, if I’m entirely truthful) — I get the occasional pain in places that never hurt before. If I ran to the doctor every time, well, let’s just say he’d soon lose patience with such nuerotic behavior.

And yet, every time I have an appointment, I find myself planning for that day, the one I hope never comes. The day they tell me my cancer has come back.

It’s probably because I’m a bit — The Engineer and Darling Daughter might say more than a bit — of a control freak. I like to think ahead, to have a plan, though I know cancer doesn’t give two hoots about anyone’s plan.

For that matter, life in general doesn’t give two hoots about my plans. I know this. I truly do.

It doesn’t stop me from making them. I guess I want to be ready for anything, even a cancer recurrence. Ha! As if anyone is ever ready.

Readers, my mammogram was clear. My twice-yearly visits to Dr. H are now switched to a single, annual appointment. Darling Daughter was graduated (Summa cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Departmental Honors, and a prize for her senior thesis — yes, I’m one proud mama!)

There was no need for sick leave or worrying about my retirement, so I was able to enjoy a lovely bike trip  around Chincoteague Island.*IMG_0210I bought the cleats and shin guards. IMG_0333And I’ve put my cancer planning away.
At least until next year.

*Warning:If you ever visit Chincoteague, take insect repellent. The mosquitos are vicious!







6 thoughts on “Cancer Lesson #80: Planning for a Day I Hope Never Comes

  1. Congratulations!
    Though, sometimes, it’s right to worry about those mysterious aches. The ones in my back and belly and shooting down through my hip, that sent me to my doctor, and made my oncologist get the multiple scans that revealed it wasn’t cancer. Oh, and by the way, you need urgent spinal surgery. Bit of a mixed blessing that one, but I got two good results: cancer free, *and* a fixed spine with added titanium!
    We’re similar in many ways; I just put the whole cancer thing on the back burner 99% of the time, and worry like crazy for a few days. The Husband cannot understand why now, suddenly, I’m afraid, instead of enduring low grade worry all the time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That low grade worry will make you nuts! How’s your back? Feel free to email response or ignore if you’d rather not broadcast here. I’ve been thinking of you.


      • It’s still remarkably painful at times, but improving constantly. Last night, for the first time, I was able to sleep on my side, pain free most of the night. You’ve no idea of the new optimism it’s produced! We’re packing slowly today, out for a meal tonight for as long as I can sit moderately comfortably, and then hit the road (gently) tomorrow morning for the start of the long trek. The back of the car is a frenzy of blankets, quilts and pillows and I will be enthroned there in some style, tee hee! Feeling good is going too far, feeling better is on the mark 🙂


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