Column: Sole-Searching

Column: Sole-Searching


Kenneth B. Lourie

There’s no denying the emotional fact that the CT Scan results I received and wrote about last week were a bit of a disappointment. Not a shock, mind you, because once yours truly was characterized as “terminal,” back in late February 2009, all subsequent bets came off the table, almost literally; and expectations, such as they were explained to Team Lourie, likewise nearly ended up on the floor, figuratively speaking, meaning they were pretty low at that point. And ever since, my life has been about managing expectations and reacting to scan results and lab work and trying to live forward. This recurring assessment has dominated my life over these past six years.

So receiving results last week was, in and of itself, nothing new. Heck, I’ve received bad results before; I’ve even been hospitalized because of them. Obviously, I was not hospitalized this time. Nor will there be any changes to my treatment protocol, although we are advancing by one month my next CT Scan, as a precaution/prudent course of reaction to the mass which seems to be forming in my left lung. At this juncture however, premature as it may or may not be, nothing really has changed. Life goes on.

Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking that change has indeed occurred. Unfortunately, the process by which one finds out about such change: scans, sort of happens in arrears. That’s not to say that now is definitely too late, but neither is it too early. It’s more that this kind of timeline makes for worrisome days and sleepless nights. All of which, if you believe the anecdotal evidence, are counter-productive to surviving cancer. It serves no purpose, other than as an entirely reasonable and predictable response to an incredibly difficult set of circumstances, to focus on such a negative. Moreover, attempting to control something likely beyond one’s control similarly stretches one’s emotional strings. Finding a balance between what is and what isn’t quite yet, or what might become of what hasn’t been confirmed, is a constant struggle.

Do I care and/or worry now and beat the rush, or do I do neither, and care/worry later? If this growth isn’t quite something, do I presume its nothing? Or do I presume it’s something even though it may still be nothing? Do I go around in circles or do I attempt to live long and prosper and damn any torpedoes that interfere with my life?

Such is life as a “terminal” cancer patient (mine anyway); upside down and all around, and never the twain shall meet, “except on the twack,” as my father always joked. And though I am regularly supported – and encouraged, by friends, family and many of you returning readers, this surviving-cancer business is most often a solitary endeavor. Living with my own thoughts, internally, this cancer-afflicted life, regardless of what I hear, see or read externally, is my responsibility and somehow I must navigate the landscape; a landscape I knew very little about previously and one fraught with danger, both mentally and physically.

Kenny Lourie is an Advertising Representative for The Potomac Almanac & The Connection Newspapers.