Three-month checkup is Tuesday, the day after tomorrow, and if I’m feeling apprehensive I can’t tell yet. Yes, there’s this knotted back muscle near my left scapula that appeared over two weeks ago and won’t go away that gets more painful on tense days, and last night it occurred to me this may be pre-checkup anxiety showing up in a different form. I guess I’ll know by Wednesday. Presuming, of course, there’s once again nothing to report.
I tell myself there won’t be, that there’s nothing to worry about. Recently when I went in for bloodwork I had a nice talk about movies with the phlebotomist – the clinic has a new touchscreen checkin system, technology I first saw in Die Hard almost 30 years ago – and I barely felt the stick. Overall it was just about the most pleasant draw I can remember. How could that have been if I were uptight about what it might reveal a week later? Piece of cake. Totally.
Then again there’s this sloshing in my stomach when I go for walks and the last time I noticed that with any regularity was 3 years ago just before the pain began, pain that was the first evidence of the tumor in my abdomen that would eventually grow to 16cm. All it is at this point is something to mention on Tuesday. I tell myself that too.
Still I worry, because that’s what I do. I’m like the member of my support group who said, “Anxiety has been my co-cancer.” Last time I saw the onco I asked if he would show me how to read the CAT scan so I’d know how to interpret the next one on my own. He told me it’s a long time until that scan (meaning I suppose that anything he did show me I’d forget in six months, which to be fair is all too likely) and then asked why I wanted to know. I told him that I worry. He replied that if I want to worry less I should watch my diet and lose some of the weight I’ve regained, that that is one of the most effective preventive measures against cancer’s return. And that was the end of that conversation.
Right now I lack an outlet to talk about this FTF, having dropped out of the support group mid-August. The group, which as late as July I considered a vital part of my treatment, grew too large and too talkative with much of that talk feeling superficial. Most didn’t know the four members who died last year and at times I wondered if they took being there for those two hours a week seriously. The more I wondered the less I contributed until I stopped going entirely.
I’ll be back I suppose, maybe even soon. Cancer is a long game and one person I met there who also has lymphoma said he’d gone off and on for seven years, through remission and recurrence. Either way It’s good to know the group exists and I hope its members current and future benefit as much from it as I have. In the meantime I’ll do whatever chatting feels necessary online, gathering the support I need from that. Because there’s nothing to worry about, is there? Of course not.
(Republished from my personal Facebook account)