When I was 21 I had surgery for an inflamed pericardium (membrane around the heart) and came out of surgery a cancer patient. The pericardium was mostly removed but at that time the doctors discovered a stage 3b Hodgkins Lymphoma tumor surrounding my heart. I have the “zipper” scar on my sternum that wont let me forget. It reminds me that life isn’t always fair; that life is worth fighting for. It reminds me to live life each day as if it were my last. Unfortunately cancer isn’t like chicken pox and once you have it once, the odds are greater than others that you will get it again. My scars remind me to keep a watchful eye. My scars remind me that I cant get too comfortable in my body.
This must be what a felon running from the law feels like. Always looking behind their shoulder, and wondering when the law will catch up to them and find them. I’ve felt that way for 14 years. It was worse at first when they told me the cancer was gone but that I needed to have some CT Scans every month to be sure. For the last five years, I’ve just done scans if I had any problems. But as a survivor, any cough, ache, or pain that won’t quit is a cause to raise red flags. I have lost track of how many cancer scares I’ve had these past years. I’ve stopped feeling scared, I’ve trained myself to just watch and see. Do the tests and see what the answer is, then decide to be scared. I’ve been lucky and haven’t had a reason to be scared, until this year.
For fourteen years I’ve awoken every day and breathed air that wasn’t meant for me. I drew the “get out of jail free” card in 2003 and have been looking over my shoulder ever since. I know I shouldn’t be here on this earth but I am and I am trying to make my life mean something. I’ve had fourteen years but I’m selfish because I want all the years. I want to watch my baby learn how to walk and my older babies grow up and go to college. I want to be a grandmother and retire with my love, my Lee. I am selfish. I am a horrible person.
I am getting medical test after medical with no answer for my pain. Its hard not to wonder if its happening all over again. But until I know one way or the other, I just wait. Maybe tomorrow I’ll draw a card from “The Community Chest” that says “bank error in your favor.”