Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ghoul in the Shadows

The benefits of bilateral mastectomy are that you can do yoga positions that require lying on your stomach without spending five minutes arranging yourself so it’s comfortable. Short hair means no ponytail poking you in the back of the head when you lie on your back. No risk of smacking yourself on the chin with your own body part, you can jump up and down to your hearts' content. Downside is you don’t really have the energy to jump up and down.

Went to my routine 3 month check up with my oncologist this morning feeling great. They fixed the front doors to the building, so you can no longer go in through the exit door {my preferred route}. Same lovely ladies at check in, some new hairstyles, but all is as it was. I went to visit the nurses, my favorite is back from knee replacement surgery and looks ten years younger, pain can wear you down it seems. There was a new girl doing weight and blood pressure, I guess the sweet one I was used to has had her baby, some things change and and some things stay the same.

Feeling so swell, so optimistic and carefree, I was all ready to finally hear, “everything looks good... go and be happy... go live your beautiful life.” Instead, I got to hear that my CA 27.29 tumor marker has gone up. This is a notoriously unreliable test. Some doctors use it and some don’t, but with my love of data, I readily agreed to it. There is a higher chance something other than cancer has caused this elevation, and yet there it is, floating out there, following me around, like a ghoul for the next two weeks until I have it rechecked and then checked again two weeks after that. Will it go up even more, or will it go down, only the shadow knows. So when, I wonder, exactly when, can I go live my life unshrouded by fear? When will I get the all-clear for more than a few weeks? When can I have the opportunity to live unencumbered, unfettered by worry and panic? How do I go home and look into my baby’s great, blue eyes and pretend I’m not worried, that I had a great day. I’ve done it so many times before, you’d think it would get easier... it doesn’t.


  1. Argh.

    Maybe one way to look at this is that you aren't experiencing anything different than most people. The rest of us have the exact same ghoul wandering around, we just don't have the charts and data to prove it.

  2. yes, i've thought of that often when i fear mortality... not to be depressing, but i realize we're all going to die, and while i have more information than most people, it doesn't make it so... someone else could be coasting along and be hit by a bus or sudden heart attack... the only difference is i've got this damned crystal ball stalking me. oh damned... i like that crystal ball imagery... should have used that in the post : }

  3. Fuck 'em all -- just live your beautiful life!