Having checked my email inbox fairly regularly (that's an understatement if there ever was one) since my Wednesday morning CT scan with no word yet as to its finding; and given the fact that it's Saturday morning and my column is requested to be in-house on Friday mornings, I am compelled nonetheless to submit one despite its incompleteness.
I would expect that by the time the newspapers go to press (Tuesday) and you regulars read this column (sometime after), to invoke Mark Twain – the results of my scan will not have been exaggerated. They will have been made known via email, with the radiologist's report likely attached, for my review (at least that's what happened the last time, in July).
Not that this method of communication and/or these daze of waiting is atypical of the process. It's not. It is the process.
And not that I'm unable to function/maintain my focus/keep my sense of humor; I am.
It's more that when the stakes are higher than they've been in a few years, this one's ability to embrace life with unbridled joy is difficult. It's almost as if there's an emotional-governor embedded in my brain to control my speed, so to speak. I just can't break out in uncontrollable laughter. Somehow, I'm refrained/disinclined from doing so.
I imagine my subconscious is involved, but I'd need Dr. Freud to confirm it. Unfortunately, I don't believe he's seeing patients any more.
Still, in the midst of this information void, I feel duty-bound to put pen to paper – literally – and try to write some "thoughtful commentary and insightful humor,” as my columns have been characterized by great friend and fellow writer, E.A. Faine, rather than writing "Everything in general about nothing in particular," as I once described them.
Considering the slew of cancer-specific columns I've published since June 2009, they've rarely been about “nothing in particular.” Nor have they been about “everything in general.” They've been about one thing in particular: cancer, and very specifically at that.
And while I've re-mentioned cancer, I've just taken another moment to check my inbox again to see if there's any Saturday-morning news, but unfortunately there's not. I'm still in the dark, sort of, even though the lights are on in the room where I'm writing.
However, all is not lost. "Chino," the brother of "Biscuit," the other of the buff-colored brothers we rescued back in May 2007, is cuddled up against my left forearm as I block his desire to roll on top of my writing tablet. And in his desire to be with me at this stressful time, I am able to draw some comfort as he purrs himself to sleep.
Now let me ask you all a few questions:
How many times/how often should I check my inbox for results? Do I presume my oncologist appreciates the significance of this moment for me? Is he even aware, given how many patients he cares for, of the time-sensitivity of me wanting to know my results before the weekend? Not knowing the answer to any of these questions, is it possible for me to stop wondering about the answers and get on with my life and let the chips fall where they inevitably will?
If you can't answer any of these questions either, then you know how I feel.
I've been down this road before though. It's sort of like mental gymnastics. Trying to contort myself emotionally into positions/moods from which there's no rational escape. Occasionally I will get blue and feel the weight of the worry, but mostly, I'm able to put one foot in front of the other and try not to take two steps forward while taking one step backward.