Monday, March 10, 2014

High Stakes

When folks survive a brush with death, oftentimes from that point forward their calendars are marked with the anniversary date. Each year they celebrate their survival with some type of remembrance. It matters little whether the event was a major health scare, a serious car crash, or some freak accident where their life came within an eyelash of ending. They are alive today and thankful that the painful ordeal is in the past where it can no longer touch them. However, for some of us, we survive a brush with death, only to continually be forced to face our tormentor. In my case, I was diagnosed with an advanced-stage carcinoma back in 1997. My cancer has returned half a dozen times since I had my first operation. Each year I have to visit my oncologist for a detailed examination. Some visits end with me given a clean bill of health and some end with me setting up an appointment for surgery. Whatever else I have going on is immediately set aside as a secondary concern as that old struggle with death requires full attention.

My next yearly exam is scheduled for this week. It is amazing how a fairly quick check can either set you back on your normal workaday course or put you face to face with your end. One outcome leaves you chatting lightly about trivialities with your doctor. The other has nurses scrambling to setup your pre-operative tests and procedures. I have been through this ordeal so many times it feels a bit like a loop from the movie "Groundhog Day". However, I try to prepare myself each year to deal in strength with the outcome no matter what it may be. To be sure my highs and lows are much more controlled now than they were in the past. I guess no matter how big the stakes are, you eventually get used to dealing with things as they come. So know that I will deal with this too regardless of the outcome.