I try to get busy living since I didn’t get busy dying back in 2008. In fact, over the last year, I think I have mostly disconnected myself from my health history. People I meet now don’t even know this important piece of information about my life. Blithe.
By the time I left work for my annual oncologist’s checkup, I was in full-on survival mode. Eyes forward, just keep swimming. No chance of thinking about anything else, like hunger, thirst, or what I’ll feed my kids for dinner. All energy diverted to life support systems.
I just have to drive to the doctor’s office, check in, give them my new insurance card, wait.
After check in but before the wait, I used the restroom. I saw that sign I’d forgotten about – the one that reminds you to flush twice if you’re receiving chemotherapy. Oh, that’s right. I used to be smack dab in the middle of those toxic days.
This used to be my life.
Head down. Power through.
Back to the waiting room. Think about how I don’t belong here. Wait. Get a little angry about tough breaks like cancer. Wait. Contemplate nausea. Wait. Go back and have my vitals checked. Wait for an exam room to open up. Put on a lovely paper gown. Wait to hear the doctor take my thick chart off the exam room door. Ah, the sound of impending redemption. Wait. Then a few minutes with the doc, check out the scars and the lungs and the heart and the liver, happy happy talk.
Schedule my 2016 appointment.
I can’t believe I forgot that I used to have to flush twice.
Of course it wasn’t forgotten, it was more like suppressed.
Friday, when the nation is having a moment of silence to remember the 2001 terrorist attacks, I’ll be silent a few extra moments as I commemorate the seven-year anniversary of my first chemotherapy.
I spent the rest of this cloudy day sulking despite my clean bill of health.
I will never get away from this. Never, ever, ever. This is my life. It will always be my life.
The shock of reentry into that world made me gloomy.
I think I need to work more on integrating it into my life this year, rather than shoving it into the back of the closet and hoping it will disappear. I’d probably be better off making peace with it than letting it sneak up on me like that.
Whatever that means.
Note to self: Just take the checkup days off work from now on.
So yes, 7.
That was the average age of my kids when I was diagnosed. Now you have to double that to get their average age.
It’s also the name of my favorite Prince song, although I haven’t the foggiest idea what the hell he’s talking about. Here it is. Maybe you can explain it to me.