That Time Again

About a week ago, I was showering when I felt a bump near my armpit.

“It’s back.”

That was all I could think as I scrambled to the mirror to take a closer look at the lump.

It was an insect bite.*

Not really a funny story, I know, except it is. Kind of like the adage about seeing an animal with cloven hoofs running toward you and immediately assuming it’s a zebra instead of a horse.

It doesn’t make any sense. Unless you live in Africa and have seen zebras running in the wild.

Well, the last time I found a lump, it was cancer. So though I’d swear to you the possibility of its return is never uppermost in my mind, it is — and always will be — a possibility.

Not something I think about every day, but buried deep in the back of my mind where it belongs.

And since my yearly mammogram and oncologist appointment is coming up, I’ve been running through the scenarios, which pushes the thought a bit more forward than usual.

“This time, I won’t stay home as much. I’ll keep working, I’ll …”

I work through the details in my head — how to make it easier on everyone if it happens again.

For now, these scenarios remain theoretical, and I’m well aware of how blessed that makes me. For so many others, this kind of planning is a daily reality.
“How can I get to chemo and still get my kids to choir practice on time?”
“Is it possible to shop for my aging parents when I’m so tired I can barely stand?”
“What kind of employee am I?  I don’t know from one day to the next if I’ll feel up to doing my job.”

There are other dilemmas, I’m sure, beyond my imagination that others deal with every day.

It should go without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. If you know someone in treatment for cancer or any other ailment, find a way to support them. Even if it’s just dropping by with supper or sending a card.

This disease — like many others — can happen to anyone, at any time. I think survivors are exponentially more aware of that, which makes our call to duty is even higher. Not because it could be us next time or we owe to people from the last time, but because it’s the right thing to do.

As for me, I remain happy to be here, happy to have hair. And the second part is optional.

*I haven’t completely lost perspective. Since going through treatment, I’ve become a magnet for every kind of biting bug, and many bites affect me more than in the past — swelling to the point that it requires no stretch of the imagination at all to take it for another cancerous lump. 

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