Yesterday was supposed to be my big day... my day to launch project Breast Cancer Awareness. And I missed it. However, sometimes missed opportunities are nothing more than life offering you a better opportunity.
You see, the post I had planned for yesterday was a generic, "Welcome To My Mission", mission statement. Nothing exciting. Nothing engaging. Basically...nothing to write home about (pun intended).
Today...well, today I realized I have the perfect story to set the stage for what's to come. Today I am scheduled to have a scan at 2:30. Given most everyone's journey through this hell called cancer begins with a scan of some sort, what better subject to consider than scans.
Just over 2 years ago, I found something that set off deafening alarm bells. I found a mass. If I'm being honest and overly graphic, I should share that I found a HUGE mass. One that seemed to literally pop up overnight. It was so abnormally massive, I went to the doctor the next morning, panicked but also believing there was a reasonable explanation. The first order of business was to conduct an ultrasound, which is basically a scan of sorts, then move on to a biopsy followed by the painful, agonizing, yet-still-hopeful-it's-nothing stage of waiting. Obviously, hope failed me and I was told I had cancer.
That is when it all began. Scan after scan was ordered in an attempt to determine how many advances the enemy had made throughout my body that was now considered a battleground. Without an assessment of what ground had been overtaken by the "c" creature, there would be no way to map a plan of attack, especially one that left me standing at the end of the war.
So began a process of this, that and the other. I was injected with "this", had to drink "that" and popped pills I shall refer to as the "other". Injections of tracers were "this". Gunky, chalky liquid that caused my gag reflex to go into overdrive was "that". Fortunately, I only had to choke down 3 bottles of "nasty" one time. But the injections of "stuff" were numerous. I often joked how my veins housed enough radioactive tracers to allow me to serve as stand-in holiday lights for the upcoming Christmas season. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I "glowed" enough to put the Griswolds to shame.
(If you are too young to know who the Griswolds are, I suggest you Google it. Then rent the movie. While it "ain't" no JackAss The Movie, I promise you will laugh. And those of you, like me, who are more mature in age? I suggest you just ignore the reference to JackAss the Movie. It really is as bad as the name implies.)
By the way, the "other" I mentioned? The "other" is also known as Ativan. We became friendly fast. My new found friend became the crutch I leaned on as it was the only thing that got me through the claustrophobic nightmare that is an MRI. It also became the muzzle that shushed the "F" bombs that kept working their way to the surface and popping out of my mouth. I even dropped a few in front of my mother, for gosh's sake! Try as I might to twist my thoughts into a nicer, more-appropriate-for-my-mama word, F*CK was the only word my lips would let pass. So I relied on the "other". Within seconds of swallowing that most coveted white pill, I found my happy place and the world went back to revolving on its axis.
And the "F" bombs were diffused.
Time went on and my year long treatment came along for the ride. With it came more scans than I can remember. They were so numerous they became second nature. A new normal took over my world and I went about the business of fighting the fight. Scans were so commonplace, I eventually forgot the apprehension and gut wrenching fear felt as I waited for results. I even broke up with the "other". I no longer needed him. As much as I loved our relationship, I wasn't in it for the long haul. Basically, I was using the "other" to get what I wanted then I planned to dump him. Judge me if you wish.
I am now one year post treatment and life has gone back to the way it was...as much as it can. I still have check ups. I still require tests to ensure that wicked monster hasn't found a way to resurrect itself. And I'm back to feeling all the angst that accompanies the what if's...the worries...the waiting during and after each scan. Even the what-seems-like-long-yet-are-relatively-short stretches of time between these tests holds a flicker of fear. I'm always wondering if a storm is brewing in the distance. If a battle is being waged. It wouldn't even be a stretch to say I am on high alert for another surprise attack.
Cancer does that to you.
It robs you of your sense of security.
Life does return to normal. But it will never be the same...