Saturday, October 2, 2010

Testing. 1..2...3....


Let’s face it. As much as we strive to be ‘normal’, Survivors are not. There are no normal doctor visits. No normal, standard checkups. Hell, we can’t even go to the dentist without a conversation about our medical past.

Whether we are on a scheduled scan or a meeting with our Primary, every visit holds gravity.

Will white counts be high?

Will that scan show a shadow that can’t be explained?

I can literally quote one of my oncologists.

“You are compromised.”

The simple fact that we are Survivor’s lends itself to a new life. We shouldn’t be dwelling, but the question always in the background is “What’s next?”

Indeed. What is next?

It sometimes takes decades to figure that out and I am thankful for those decades. Still, the energy needed to live hour to hour, day to day, can be draining.

There is joy. We are alive. We have survived. There is air to breathe. Wine to drink. Colors to see. Hands to hold. Silence to listen to.

There is fear. Sure we are alive but what if the affliction comes back? We had no control before and who says we have any control now?

There is pain. We live in a new century yet we are still reduced to knives, swords and probes where no one should ever go. It isn't discomfort. It is pain.

There is depression. Why not? One Thousand years from now cancer may be nothing more than a head cold but for now, we still have to sit though charity TV shows dedicated to eradicating the disease. Don’t sing for me. Fix it, please.

There is guilt. To those who have passed, why are we alive? As a child, my friend across the hall didn’t make it. Explain that to a six year old.

There is perspective. Heavy, hard to focus, perspective. Why is tuning a widget of any importance any longer? Focus on everyday tasks, like your job, or cutting the grass, can be likened to running a marathon. Focus too much on normal life and you leave yourself wide open to another total shock by an unemotional doctor.

When you are diagnosed, you step onto the wildest roller coaster there is. The heights are the highest. The depths can be unfathomable. The lights are white hot and always on you. Alien faces poke, prod, stab and cajole you to walk along the very edge of a jagged cliff.

Then there is silence. As fast as the chemicals and science was upon you, it is now gone. You are alone. Sure there is family. There may have even been some friends who stuck around. You are still alone now. Alone to take the next step.

We aren’t normal any longer.

And for that, we are constantly being tested.

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