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.*I bought the cleats and shin guards. And 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!