Life: 6 Months at a Time
Isn’t that a great graphic? I found it on Pixabay.
“What’s so great about it?” you might be wondering.
There’s maybe only one other person who might appreciate this as much as I do. My BFF Tracie. She always got a kick out of me calling the cancer my “hitchhiker.”
Anyway, in that graphic I see a representation of my life these past eight years.
Well, not all eight.
Funny. I can’t remember when I “graduated” to six month checkups. (Which isn’t saying much. I can’t remember a lot of things these days.)
But suffice it to say, that image personifies life as I’ve known it lately.
Most people probably can’t appreciate this, because I haven’t written much for anyone to reference about how I feel about having had cancer.
I tell people if they ask. I talk to other cancer survivors about it when I meet them and the subject comes up.
But I haven’t written about it.
Not that my writing about it would make anyone appreciate it anyway. I find most people can’t. It’s something bad that happened to someone else. It doesn’t affect them. It only matters when shit hits their fan.
But I’ll tell you this: my check-up visits never fail to spike inordinate amounts of anxiety in me the week or two (or three or four) leading up to them.
I obsess about what news I’ll get.
Will the x-ray show something this time? Will more scans be required? Will I have to endure that CT crap again? (I really, really did not like those.)
What kind of treatment will I have to endure this time? Will there even be treatments to try? Or am I beyond that? Could this be the beginning of the road to the hospice talk?
Or will my luck hold? Will I be granted another pardon and another six months of life uninterrupted by scary, invasive, uncomfortable and humiliating tests and procedures?
Not to mention needles. I’m better about them than I once was, but I still have a fairly healthy phobia. The less I have to do with them, the better.
From Three to Six
Funny, though. I can’t remember when I leveled up to every six months. Maybe at the Five Years in the Clear mark? Not sure.
The thing I most remember about Five Years in the Clear was Dr. Patton delighting me with the news that I was done with annual CT scans.
No more IVs with the awful dye injected. That belly-burning, light my lady parts up so intensely it felt like I was about to pee fire stuff was awful. (If you’ve ever had to have that dye, you know the unpleasant sensation I’m referencing. If not, lucky you!)
And then there was The Reaction.
Not to the dye. To the IV needle in my arm.
This is what needles provoke (TMI warning, btw. Stop here and scroll down to the next paragraph): Burning up heat. Clothes-drenching, seat-soaking sweat. Dizziness. Nausea. All at the same time. All ultimately culminating in explosive diarrhea or vomiting. (Thankfully it’s never been both at the same time. Close, but mercifully never combined.)
The other thing I remember about the Five Years in the Clear visit was having to go see a cardiologist. My CT showed something wonky. Not cancer wonky. Something that could be congestive heart failure.
Luckily, it wasn’t. I had had a cardiac incident a few weeks before my scan though. Murphy, our dog, had died. My heart was broken. Literally.
But that’s a topic for another post.
This coming Tuesday, February 28, is my next check-up.
My anxiety is high. Has been for a couple weeks now. Pretty much since the start of February.
I try very hard to “put my worries on the shelf,” as my friend Lisa once sagely advised me to do.
Or, as I recently heard in Dark Was the Night (a horror movie), “Worrying never added a day to anyone’s life.”
I know this. At least my brain does. My heart, however, can’t be consoled. It freaks out.
If all is well, not only will I be granted another six month pardon, but I’ll mark Eight Years in the Clear.
I want it so very badly. Not because eight is significant for any reason. It just means I’m that much closer to Ten Years in the Clear. And that would be significant.
The Push for Ten
I went hog wild celebrating the whole year long when I hit Five Years in the Clear.
When it was over, I was depressed. I’d had a list of things I wanted to do if I made it to Five. I accomplished them all.
That left a huge void. Now what?
That’s when this quote came along: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
Ah ha! Duh. The answer was there all along. Set new goals! What would I want to do for a Ten Years in the Clear celebration?
A lot of things, it turns out. That’s what motivates me. That’s what I’m looking ahead to now.
I’m really, really hoping this visit will be another good news one.
Another step closer to Ten.
Another chance to blow out candles and wish for all of my Ten Year plans to come to fruition.
Wish me luck. That, love, and prayers is always appreciated.