Once treatment ends, we cancer survivors go about our lives in much the same way as everyone else. In fact, once our hair has grown out and our skin has rebounded from a pastiness that shouts “sickly,” we can usually pass for one of the healthy.
Inside, though, I think there’s always a hint of hesitancy, a a sense of “what if?” What if an unusual bump suddenly emerges? What if a nagging cough refuses to let up? What if the next visit to a doctor turns up something suspicious, something in need of another look or a test or perhaps the most dreaded of all: an abnormality that needs to be watched? Ugh.
Edwina’s had to deal with a lot of “what if’s” lately. Too many.
There’s her dental crisis that continually gets nudged to another provider, located in another part of the city, available on another day and time.
There’s the unusual lump that’s appeared where her breast once rested. A swollen node? Necrosis? The doctor says she needs to wait and see.
There’s the sudden, straight-out-of-the-blue comment by another physician that she doesn’t remember seeing a spot on an x-ray that’s now quite visible. “She’s gonna keep an eye on it,” Edwina promptly reports when telling me about this most recent discovery.
In the meantime, Edwina tells me, “I’m gonna say a prayer that everything’s ok.” She pauses before picking up again: “If it ain’t, I’m gonna be ok anyways. I’m tired of bein all worried, ain’t gonna do it no more.”