Sunday, May 20, 2007

Doubting a Friend

What sort of person doubts the allegiance of a friend? My friend Ned has been with me day and night since my operation. He has given not the slightest indication that he wants to leave. Yet, here I am, wondering if he’s going to stick around. Worrying that he might want to move on.
I went for my three monthly check-up today. Note that I said “check-up” and not “scan”. Three months ago I had a serious conversation with my ologists about the need for continued CT scans of my body to look for signs of returning cancer. They discussed with me that for my particular cancer, and, more importantly, my “pathologically complete response” to the treatment and surgery, there was no need to continue to have scans every three months after the second one; I could go onto a six-monthly schedule. The statistics indicated that there was no difference in survival rates between three- and six-monthly scans in cases like mine. The doctors acknowledged that many people needed the emotional support of frequent radiographic intrusion into the body, but that medically it was unnecessary. Unnecessary in time, cost, medical resources and more importantly, why submit yourself to yet more radiation when you’ve already had a pretty good internal toasting with the stuff during treatment. Of course, I digested the information and nodded sagely in agreement. I trust these people with my life. Well, I did last year and that worked out fine, so why stop now?
Fast forward three months to today’s check-up. As the day of the check-up gets closer, my little black cloud of apprehension starts to grow. Here go the dark thought processes. Statistics, schmatistics. What if it’s back? It could be in there, somewhere, growing, spreading its nasty little tentacles into places they shouldn’t be, sniggering to itself because I just don’t know. Nasty little cancer cell cruising around in the bloodstream, or in the lymph ducts, managing to avoid the radiation, and hardy enough to take a severe Sopranos-style beating from the chemo, but not expire. A Hercules among cancer cells. Once the chemo stops, it picks itself up, dusts itself off and goes off looking for a nice warm organ to set up home and raise a family. Hangs a sign on the outside of the nascent tumor – “Dunroamin”. As you can see, all of the sensible conversational points of three months ago were for nought.
So I faced off with both of my ologists – the surgeon and the chemist – and told them straight that I would prefer to have a scan. Now, if you please. My tones were measured and calm. My voice was steady and low. But they both looked into the windows of my eyes and saw the emotional melt-down going on inside, The petulant little boy in there, jumping up and down and screaming “I want one, I want one, I want one” and that he wasn’t going to stop until he got one. Hey, it worked when I was six.
It works when you’re sixty (or nearly) as well, it seems. They both smiled thinly, and said “Certainly, if you want one, you can have one.’ I had to do a deal though. If I had one now, I’d definitely move onto a six-monthly routine from now on. “And no sulking or tantrums in August” is the unspoken message. Ok, doc, anything you say, just gimme that scan.
So next week I get another dose of radiation poisoning. And I’m happy to get it. That is, until I think of poor old Ned. I’ve laid bare my doubts about his integrity to the world. I obviously don’t trust him to stick around. How could I be so fickle? He’s never let me down at all and yet… We’ll have to have a long talk, Ned and me. I need to reassure him in the same way that I need to be reassured. Of course I like you, Ned. Of course I trust you as well. But our relationship is still quite new. I’ll have this scan and then I’ll feel so much better about us. I hope you understand.


At 6:51 PM, Blogger annemarie said...

Hope your scan was clean!


Post a Comment

<< Home