Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cashing The Karma Check, Hoping The Account Isn't Overdrawn

I live my life in two-month increments -- the amount of time between cancer check-ups. If that sounds bad, consider that it used to be one-month time periods, until this past April when Dr. B put me on a two-month observation plan. The next checkup is coming up June 4th.

The weeks leading up to a clinic visit always slow down. I get little accomplished; I put my life on hold, awaiting word on whether I may continue it or not. After my last checkup -- with the pronouncement that two lymph nodes have shown up on my last two CT scans, although "they're probably nothing to worry about" -- I attacked my life with vigor. I went down to Lakeland, spent time in a helo and a new Cirrus, and looked forward to coming back to Dallas and wrapping up my sport pilot training... knowing I wouldn't have to face potentially bad news for another two months.

Then the plane went down for a week, waiting for a new aileron... and while it was only a week, the down time deflated my sails on the training front. I've flown the SportStar once since then -- 10 times around the pattern at Grand Prairie, to remind myself that, yes, I still know how to fly the plane -- and I planned to do some cross-country flying before heading back to Albuquerque to find a place to live. But I wound up cancelling those flights... because I admit, my heart just isn't in it right now.

What good is accomplishing the cross-countries -- and even taking the written test and passing my checkride -- if June 4 is going to hold bad news? And if that appointment goes well... what about the August CT scan, which will update us on those lymph nodes? Nodes don't just get bigger; they react to something.

There is also a part of me -- that started small, but has grown louder with each passing day -- that feels I used up all my good luck last year, when a similar inflammation proved to be nothing serious -- a determination made following an incredibly painful and evasive lung biopsy. God, please, I don't want to go through that again... but did I use up all my karma last year?

Yeah, I'll admit, right now I'm feeling sorry for myself. This is the other side of living with cancer, one I don't like showing the world at large. But it's a very real part of living with this disease. 

Since the good news last year, I've felt lucky, blessed, and incredibly grateful. I've also felt like I've been wearing a target on my back, waiting for The Next Time something pops up.

How could I have gone undiagnosed for seven weeks following the first signs of "something wrong" in December 2005... and incredibly, have had this voraciously fast-growing cancer confine itself to just that part of my body? That is not logical; it should have popped up somewhere else, as it does for most TC patients.

I can't shake the feeling I'm facing the day of reckoning... if not now, then someday. I hope I'm prepared if that time comes... I suspect I would be, at least, as I've already gone through it twice...

Though at this moment I'd trade almost anything for a cosmic guarantee that I'll never, ever have to face that demon again. No, on second thought... anything.

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