I receive another CT scan next week. Two days after, I'll travel for over three hours round-trip just for half an hour with my oncologist to hear the results. I'm always scared. Since being diagnosed with cancer the first time in 2017, I periodically wake up in the dead of night with my heart pounding and my brain screaming that I'm going to die. We're all going to die, but I can't shake the feeling that it's a close day for me.
So many stories about cancer survival center on the enjoyment people can wring out of even the most mundane moments. They don't tell tales of folks like me who work harder than demons just to square everything away "in case". I'm three years (next month) into my remission. This next scan (provided it's clear) might mean my scans can finally be annual instead of every six months. But I still worry.
I want to live life before I die. I work so hard to accomplish the little I do. I want to see my books published. I want to watch my husband's hair go gray. I want to help others. I want to leave this world having made my mark on it and experiencing as much of it as I can. I feel like I currently only get life in tiny pieces because of chronic pain and other factors.
Sometimes, I think I should try to convince myself I'm going to live until I'm obscenely old. But it's not a thought that comes easily. After my mom died at age 64, my oldest brother said, "well, I guess we only have a bit more than 20 years left"; he doesn't have any of the health concerns I do, and yet he thinks that way.
I hate how much anxiety and depression attempt to steal the gratefulness that should come with each new day. I hate feeling like I don't have time, but I push myself relentlessly... regardless.
A mentor for The Handy, Uncapped Pen's program died in November of metastatic cancer. She was a talented poet and always eager to help out. She was a boon to more mentees than I knew about because of the various programs she'd reach out to. Even on her way to hospice, she was regretful that she could no longer volunteer. Thank you for everything, Carey Link.