As we neared the city I flinched at the sight of every brick building on either side of me, certain that was probably the one. The terrible cancer building that was full of sick and dying people and the machines and needles and shelves of medicine that would try to keep us alive.
This is a line from my book*, though certainly not a pleasant one. I think of it every time we go to Kansas City, though, for another checkup, every time the first tall brick building appears. I was so scared of the buildings then, and I can’t help remembering that feeling every time.
Still, in the words of Monica Gellar, I’m growing up. Because this current scare doesn’t scare me any more than the proper amount, and I don’t have trouble soaking up life in between. The new small nodules in my lung appear to have grown since July, and we’re going to get a biopsy and hopefully find they are nothing more than the little abnormalities we all can get at any time just from breathing in. The chances are much better for that than for cancer. Much, much better.
When I heard the spots seemed to have grown, I took time just to take it in and be completely and totally bummed out. I heartily embody the poetry that courage is not the absence of fear. I am afraid. I’m afraid of the biopsy and of its potential complications. I’m afraid of the results and definitely, definitely afraid of hearing the word cancer again.
But during those several moments similar to but not quite the depths of despair, I knew they wouldn’t last forever. I never doubted it. Because although I’d certainly been in the fear before, there were other moments – wonderful ones, peaceful and hopeful and literally spoiled by the support that comes from those who love us – and I can remember so many more of those than the other. Tonight I read all about it in the last chapter of the book I’m reading to my children.
And the memory of that moment stayed with them always, so that as long as they both lived, if ever they were sad or afraid or angry, the thought of all that golden goodness, and the feeling that it was still there, quite close, just round some corner or just behind some door, would come back and make them sure, deep down inside, that all was well.
*Some of my readers may not know I was diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma (a kind of cancer) in 2005, and I wrote about that experience in a memoir not yet published. I was called cancer-free this July, but the lung scan that month showed these two small spots we’ll be checking out now.