So my next scan is in less than two weeks. The associated oncology consult is two weeks from tomorrow. That is where the hammer comes down, so to speak.
As it happens, my hindbrain fixates on the actual scanning process instead of the consultation. The scan itself is just a procedure. I show up at the imaging center, drink some fairly foul stuff, sit around for an hour, then spend about five minutes inside a nubbly beige donut having my personal bits unduly warmed by the tracer injection. Really, this is a trivial activity.
Tell that to my inner wibbler. Wow is that hard.
Then there’s three days of this, that and the other thing, waiting for the results to be presented to me. That’s where I find out whether I spend the next six months happy, healthy and busy; or I go back for another year-long tour of duty in Hell. Or, possibly, the ambiguous middle ground of “we think but we’re not sure…” Hell’s antechamber, with the usual gripping reading material of waiting rooms everywhere.
Given my odds of recurrent metastasis, this is like playing Russian roulette with three bullets in the chamber. And the pressure of that is starting to creep up on me. I haven’t had any crying jags yet, but they’re almost certainly coming. Likewise the episodic irruptions of the Fear, the grief and the depression.
And I will go on as I have. Life is very good right now. I am pretty damned happy. I just want it to stay this way for while.
On a related note, the_child and I had lunch with my parents yesterday. After lunch, I was planning to again go visit my friend who’s been in the oncology ward for the past ten days. As of Friday, he’s been referred to hospice care, with no further treatment planned other than palliative care. I told the_child I was planning to have Mom and Dad drop her back by the house so I could go straight over. She asked if she could come with me to the hospital instead.
This surprised me. She’s not been comfortable with doctors and hospitals for quite a while now. Too much medical chaos in her family, between her mom’s week-long stay in the ICU just about a year ago, her grandmother’s heart surgery, her other grandmother’s knee surgery, and my ongoing cancer struggles. Also, she’s not particularly close to our sick friend.
I asked her why she wanted to come. She said, “Well, if I don’t see him now, I might not get to see him again.”
This led to a long conversation about cancer and family life. The mother of one of her school friends is at about the same stage of cancer treatment as my friend. She asked me what he would do without his mom. We talked about children losing their parents, and how I’d spent a lot of time thinking about what she’d do without me if this got me.
The conversation wasn’t terribly long, but it was deep and serious. She was incredibly focused and mature and thoughtful. And when we finally did reach the hospital, the_child spent an hour talking animatedly to my friend.
I am very, very proud of her today. Her focus and thoughtfulness is easing a portion of my Fear.
While I am still afraid, I am a little less afraid for the love in my life.