Thursday, December 18, 2014

Just When

Folks who are regular visitors to this site will know of my long history with cancer. Cancer is one of those diseases that changes your perspective on life permanently. For many folks who receive such a diagnosis, they suddenly come to realize with absolute clarity that they are finite. I was diagnosed when I was in my early 30s. Every shred of my deep sense that I was invincible was stripped away. Finite, mortal, aging. When your body has let you down, from that point onward it messes with your head. Every new pain, new pressure, new irregularity in your body can no longer be dismissed as nothing. Some find themselves running to the doctor with every new sniffle or beaten down under a cloud of malaise.

My cancer has brought me back under the surgeon's knife more than half a dozen times over the past 15 or so years. Just when I get a little bit comfortable, maybe even a little bit confident, my oncologist will give me the look that precludes the need for words. Somehow in that briefest of pauses in his banter, I know that I will be back on the operating table in short order, potentially with months of painful chemotherapy to follow. Those sessions can sometimes make you question whether you should embrace further treatment or flee to the peace of death.

Earlier this year, for the first time since my initial cancer diagnosis, my oncologist told me that I was doing so well, that he did not need to see me for two years. The other day I could not help but chuckle when my computer's calender program alerted me to make my yearly appointment for my cancer check-up. Man it would have been great to have been able to click on the "dismiss" button knowing that I had managed to get a year off from that whole cycle of worry and consequence. However, that won't be the case. Several weeks ago a tumor was diagnosed in my abdomen and I am scheduled for surgery just before Christmas. Dang, why can I just be left alone, even for a little while?