Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm Okay...I Think

A few days ago, I went to my 6 month check-up.  After having blood tests, a chest x-ray and ultrasounds of my kidneys and thyroid, I was to find out the results.  Was there any cancer lurking?

I was so ecstatic to find out that all tests were clear!  Everything looked normal!  I. Am. Normal.  As much as I ever was, that is.

I practically skipped out of the cancer center.  My cancer days behind me.

An hour later, I ran into an acquaintance at the grocery store.  She remarked at how fast my hair is growing back.  She asked, "How are you?"

I said, "I'm okay."

and then I added,

"I think..."

Immediately after I said it, I wondered why.  Why did I add, "I think."  Just an hour earlier, I'd been at the oncologist where he assured me that everything was fine.  There are no signs of cancer.  Nothing in any of the tests to worry about.  No indication of anything wrong.

And yet, here I was saying, "I think..."

This is how you feel after getting an All Clear on your test results.
This is not actually me - if I tried to do this jumping stunt,
I'd have bigger things to worry about than cancer.
It's no secret that cancer patients dread these tests.  It's not the tests themselves that we dread - it's the waiting and then the finding out.  Once you find out the test results, your anxiety level decreases down to the lowest levels possible.  You feel FREE!  You feel ALIVE!  You are ECSTATIC!

As the days and weeks and then months pass, getting closer to the next check-up, the next round of tests; slowly your anxiety levels creep up.  Slowly, more and more doubt leaks in about whether or not you are healthy - whether or not cancer has returned.

Healthy people don't generally think too much about their health.  You live your life with the assumptions that you are fine.  I remember when I found out that I had cancer (both times).  It was such a blow.  "But, I feel FINE!" I remember thinking.  "How could I be so sick?!"  "How could there be something trying to kill me right now?"

Once you have cancer, though, you are always looking over your shoulder waiting for it to return.  Watching your back.  You know that cancer could be silently lurking, you've been there before.  You've lived it.

I've pondered the reasons that I said, "I think..." a lot since I said it.

I've wondered if I said it because I just like the attention.  Someone WITH cancer is much more interesting than just someone who HAD cancer.  I do like to be interesting...

But, I think I said it because, once you have cancer, you are just never sure.  Never 100% positive that there isn't something else lurking.  More cancer to face.

The further I get from cancer treatment, the more days I spend being "in remission," the less I do think about cancer.  Of course, it still is a main topic in my brain every day - but it's not the thought obsession that it was in the beginning when I could think of nothing else.

I wonder though, if I'll always say (or think) "I think..." when people ask me how I am.  Doctors may say that I'm cured at some point, but will I ever really FEEL "cured?"


1 comment:

  1. Some day you will go from "I think" to "I know"! Congratulations.