BC Survivor: Bumbling at the Y in the Road

(Written November 2010)

Last Thursday I had my first MRI as part of the surveillance plan after surgery, chemo, and radiation. The words I fed myself – “routine” “cancer-free” – while waiting for the results, humored me a bit. But I was in a bit of purgatory: which way will it go?

Preparing myself for the call, I remember that I’ve had a surgery since the last MRI. The pot has been stirred since the last picture was taken. I caution myself that it’s very likely to show something. That I might need another biopsy. But it will probably be a false positive. Because I’ve done everything I could’ve and should’ve to kill every last little cell.

I’m working on a marketing campaign for Liam’s school: a direct mail campaign to 10,000 households, plus supporting print ads. A skill from grad school that I’m putting into practice! It’s fun. But will this stay on the front burner when the results come back?

Volunteering at Will’s school and moving through the first year hiccups occupies another 20 hours a week – mind, body, and soul. It’s a rollercoaster. But will I bail off the coaster when that phone rings?

Waiting, I’m moving through the days, not fully being in any given moment. Bumbling at the Y in the road, like a cow with rabies, circling and looking for a way through the invisible fence. Stunned and foaming at the mouth.

A friend is finishing chemo with crazy numbness throughout her body. Could I do chemo again?

My call comes four days later: “Good news, Linda. Everything looks stable.” The false pressure keeping me afloat the last four days drains. My impulse is to sob as I push the rewind button on the answering machine to hear the message again. But a kick-it-in-the pants Murphy voice interrupts: “Get on with it, Linda!”

Back to volunteering full-time… preparing for Christmas… washing clothes – as if nothing had happened.

Six more months until the next check: a spring mammogram in May 2011.