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"Scanticipation" Not So Much

As much as last week’s column, "Scanticipation" was about my looking forward – in a non-foreboding way, to my scheduled CT Scan on the 27th and the presumptive positive (not negative) results, having to write a column for this week before having received those results makes this writing effort particularly challenging. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and the indeterminate staffing situation on Friday, not to mention possible vacation days taken by my oncologist, I have not heard back from my him as yet about my scan. Not totally unexpected, but the calm with which I wrote last week’s column has been replaced with an uneasiness that I had not anticipated. Perhaps reality has set in, finally.

On the one hand, no news is good news – and I can certainly live with that, as you regular readers know. On the other hand, generally speaking, my oncologist would rather not share bad news electronically (although we have discussed this and he knows my preference for knowing vs not knowing). And on yet another hand, the information has simply not been communicated to me because of the holiday and there’s nothing more to be read into it than that. Much easier written than actually accepted.

But accept it I must. Which really is no big deal since the exchange of information is basically out of any of my hands anyway. And as an experienced cancer patient familiar with the emotional demands of waiting for the life-and-death-type results a CT Scan can indicate, I should know better – and I do, however…what bothers me most is my attitude in last week’s column. I think I anticipated disrespectfully, as if I was some kind of big shot simply because I had been through it all so many times before and moreover, I felt fairly asymptomatic and as such, somehow I knew better (not best, just better) and the sense that I had was that not much problematic with my lungs would be indicated when the results came back. And I may yet be correct, but last week’s column smacked of a certain type of hubris (is there more than one kind?) thinking I knew something. Well, I didn’t and I don’t know anything. Cancer will do what it does and it probably doesn’t consider what I think I feel or what I feel I think. Ultimately, as in many things in life, it’s results that matter and I’m a a little mad at myself for presuming/anticipating facts not in evidence. I should have expressed a healthier dose of respect and concern (and hope, always) and not taken any sides in the debate over whether feeling nothing was in fact as significant as I wrote it out to be.

Presumably, I will the know scan results soon enough, but not before this week’s column needed to be submitted. I don’t believe I necessarily crossed a line expressing confidence about an as yet unpublished result. But as a cancer patient, I really don’t want to tempt fate, just in case anyone is paying attention, if you know what I mean? So I guess this column is an attempt to right a wrong, in arrears, if that’s even possible. When you’ve outlived your original prognosis by as long as I have, introspecting becomes an occupational-type hazard. Still, life goes on, thankfully.