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.

But on days like today, my turn-that-frown-upside-down attitude is ill-fitting. As time ticks by I become sensitive, teary, restless, inattentive. Increasingly unglued. 7

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.

Lucky 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.



6 thoughts on “7”

  1. Seven years for me, too. I’ve been trying to make peace with it, but have yet to succeed. I suppose it’s not helping that I just keep wishing it never happened in the first place, and would just disappear from my personal history. Probably not the way to ‘make peace,’ huh? Sigh. I know it has something to do with acceptance. Obviously, I haven’t gotten there yet. Let me know if you figure out how we do that, okay? xoxo, Kathi

  2. My seven years of diagnosis is on the 16th. I’m dreading it and celebrating it at the same time…emphasis on dread. My father in law was diagnosed with kidney cancer 3 years after my stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis. He passed away 7 months ago… And along with visitations and funerals and me trying to keep my husband and kids from falling apart-came a whole host of “stuff”. Along with a butt-load of survivor’s guilt, my therapist said I was suffering from depression, anxiety, and ptsd. Basically she said I may have kept floating along on my “I’m great, I’m strong, fight fight fight…” kind of attitude, until my father in law’s death. Then it all came to the surface. Stuff I had never dealt with before. Stuff I kept shoved way back in the back to I didn’t fall apart myself, and I could be strong for everyone else around me. It’s been a tough 7 months, but I’m starting to find the surface again occasionally. But the 16th, oh the 16th… Hugs and prayers to you, my sistah. <3 <3

  3. As always, Katie, you grab ahold of the moment and let us live it with you. Has it really been seven years? I’m so grateful for you and the generosity of your sharing. Kathy

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