[cancer|personal] I wish I could believe the universe was out to get me

I sometimes observe that both my rounds of cancer were essentially caught by accident. The initial colon cancer presented at age 43. If I’d gone in asking for a colonoscopy to screen for it, they would have refused me. Far too young, not medically necessary. The only reason it was detected was because the tumor ulcerated, and I was admitted to the ER with rectal bleeding. Cancer was literally number six on their list of top five theories about what was wrong with me when I was wheeled in for the colonoscopy that found the tumor.

After that surgery, I asked for a full body scan. I was told it wasn’t medically necessary, that the doctor didn’t want to prescribe it and insurance wouldn’t cover it.

Fast forward to my one-year followup. The abdominal scan done to check my colon overscanned a bit upward and caught part of my lungs. To everyone’s surprised, there was a spot on my left lung that eventually turned out to be the metastatic tumor that was surgically removed last November. If the scan tech hadn’t been sloppy with the CT scan, we wouldn’t have found it. If we’d had the full body scan I’d requested the year before, we would have had a baseline for evaluating the spot on my lung, which in turn would have cut out a great deal of the medical screwing around that went on from May to October of last year.

Without the ulceration, my initial colon cancer would have grown to a point somewhere between catastrophic and fatal before detection. Without a scan tech’s overshooting the scan orders, my lung metastasis would have grown to a point somewhere between catastrophic and fatal before detection.

If I were feeling a bit paranoid, it might be understandable. Now, of course, we scan everything. I don’t expect a third ‘surprise’, though I may well have a third round of cancer. It will be detected on purpose, not by accident. And yes, one can spin this either way, as weirdly bad luck or weirdly good luck. In both cases, accidental detection led to early intervention and treatment.

But if I were a superstitious man, I’d be screaming about this.

On chemo these days, my life runs in two-week cycles. Infusion Friday leads to a weekend of quiescent stupor and general ill-being. Monday following I’m pretty worthless, coming back to myself mentally sometime on Tuesday. Then there’s Shedding Day(s), when my stomach lining gives up and heads for the exits, somewhere between Tuesday and Friday.

It’s not til the off weekend that I really can come back to myself. So I schedule anything that needs to be done beyond my basic, very constrained daily routines, to those weekends. Taxes, for example. Or needful things around the house. My family tries to schedule family events such as ‘s (cancelled) birthday party of yesterday for the off weekends, when I can make them. Also, that’s my time window to get ahead on writing projects, since in the absence of Day Jobbery I can use my morning energy for fiction.

Three off weekends ago, I was laid low with a viral cold that in normal health would have been a three-day annoyance, but on chemo was severely debilitating.

Two off weekends ago, Mother of the Child went into the hospital, where she remained for six days.
Also that weekend, tore the ligaments in her foot and laid herself up badly.

This off weekend, a/k/a my Mom had a cardiac event for which she still in the hospital.

Excuse me, but WTF? I’m supposed to be taking it easy, having a low stress life right now, and easing my way through chemo, but the people around me are dropping like flies. I’ve already warned to spend my next off weekend at the WitchNest, wrapped in a blanket and moving as little as possible lest she trip on the carpet and break her nose or something.

And yes, I know it’s not all about me. And yes, I know the universe is not out to get me. But in some ways I’d rest a lot easier if I had someone to blame. The sequence and timing of events has become so improbable that if I wrote it into a novel, would make me take it right back out again.

One is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action. Except I don’t have any enemies.

Thank Ghu I’m such a bloody-minded empiricist, because otherwise I would be a raving paranoid by now. But really, if the universe is listening, enough already, ok?

5 thoughts on “[cancer|personal] I wish I could believe the universe was out to get me

  1. Things always come like that. And in general, I know few people who are having a good year this year. The universe seems to be in a mood or something. Quit a few feel like someone or something has it out for them personally (although on a percentage scale, you’re in the top three right now).

    Say like this year, about the only good thing that happened until this past week was having a pinched nerve which kept me from going to Confusion at the end of January. So at least I didn’t a hotel bill as I was laid off, although we had just purchased a nice couch, and in February had to fix or repair several items (including having the garage door spring snap).

    However, I’m happy to report, that the universe started to give reprieves at the beginning of this month. It’s taking a little long for all the notifications to go out.

    Hopefully both of ours are in the mail.

  2. Dawn B. says:

    I love you. I’m sorry this is happening to you.

  3. Jaws says:

    This leads to the practical, but sadly amusing, corollary of Pascal’s wager:
    (1) The universe may, or may not, be out to get me.
    (2a) If the universe is not out to get me, but I act like it is, I have lost nothing.
    (2b) If the universe is out to get me, but I do not take precautions against it, it will get me.
    CONCLUSION: I should therefore act and believe that the universe is out to get me. All of which assumes, of course — and this is the problem with Pascal’s Wager — that it does a damned bit of good to be paranoid about the universe being out to get me in the first place… because if the universe is out to get me, there’s not a lot I can do about it.

  4. Alexis says:

    Always felt like the universe was out to get me too. If there’s a lifetime limit for personal tragedy, I exceeded it by the 3rd grade. God now owes me a winning lotto ticket. And I want him to pay up before I’m dead!
    God now owes you a winning lotto ticket. From what I’ve seen though, he rarely pays his debts. Although he sure is quick to reward scumbags, just look at our last 3 Republican administrations.
    Anyway, you’re on my mind. I hope good thoughts help.

  5. Adriene says:

    Just wanted to give another perspective. Maybe the universe is out to save you. I could not call those accidents serendipitous, so maybe design?

    It is good that you are sharing what you are going through. Now think of all of the love and thoughts of good health that people are sending you and your family.

    Yes “When it rains it pours”, but water is essential to life. Also don’t forget that “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

    Good things happen in multiples too, look forward to it, it is designed that way.

    Sending you and your family my love and thoughts of good health.


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