Chapter 1: This Wait-and-See-Game
I’ve been driving down the back roads of my life. Syncopating my rhythm to the pace of these hidden highways, long and winding fast moving. I’m stretched out in the distance; it’s a long long drive down these back roads of the past week or so.
See, a card player, from my grandfather’s roots, showed me my hand. Then Oprah told me what to do with it. What a mad crazy road this road of life…we struggle for meaning, for time to get by, and here I am facing the possibility mine might be up. Let me tell you the story…
I’m skipping through life, trying to negotiate this really odd decision to stick around this town. My days are filled with setting up a plan for living here…a little bit longer. I’m working odd jobs while being a social worker part time. I’m spending time with friends, negotiating crash and burn love affairs. I’m working on my body, shedding unhealthy patterns, I am actively shaping myself into the gyrl I want to be. It’s hard. It’s a bumpy ride, but I’m doing it.
I decide one day, while stressing about something else, to go to the doctor’s office. Why not, right? It’s good to check in with your body? My body. I go and the nurse practitioner touches my throat. She’s been there before, lukewarm hands palpating the skin. She pauses, frowns at her memory flashing across her face where six months before I came in for my thyroid. She touched that spot then. I was worried, she was not. I wanted a test, an ultra sound of the lump growing there.
We part our ways the first time around and I get the test. Nothing comes up – no traders invading the body raising their hands. My ultra sound says I am good to go. I think nothing of it, except an internal high five for getting the job done – I WENT TO THE DOCTORS – and look, I am a-okay.
This time…this time, I am in for something else – a check up, routine and simple. But here she is with her hands paused on my throat and her memory flashes back to our first discussion when we both thought nothing of it.
Did you see the specialist?
What? I had the ultrasound. I was told it was okay! No specialist was mentioned.
The spot had grown. I could feel it when she touched it – a heavy lump sharing space below my left larynx. Fuck.
It’s not all that dramatic. Its just the nurse practitioner decides she’ll have the specialist call me and set up an appointment.
I’m cool, right. It’s nothing. A wait-and-see-game with my health. The specialist calls me and I take the first available appointment.
Then, my story gets trippy.
Now, I’m a gyrl from time to time who likes to throw out mystic bull shit about listening to life and getting the deeper things from our days. Why not? Life can have its lulls, so listening to some bigger soundtrack playing out keeps me interested.
I happened to have scheduled a tarot reading with a friend the next night. I scheduled the reading days before stepping into the physician’s office. I’m not saying I believe in tarot. Not sure I believe in a bigger picture these days, at least the one where I get to be a hero in my own life, living a good life where my story leads somewhere I want to go.
Whatever. Don’t judge. I guess I’m a talker of the deeper meaning in our days, but most days I wonder if this is some bland trip set up to see if I can keep my own self occupied. Most times I feel like I am just keeping myself entertained.
As for the tarot. It’s a fun thing. Can we really believe in a deck of cards to lay out our plans? Really?
I get to my friend’s house. I pick my deck of choice from many decks. He lays out the cards while I spin in my head asking my question, asking what the fuck am I doing again?
I admit. I was focused on money, love, and clichéd answers spoken out like those fun vague horoscopes.
My life is dealt out in complicated layers. Damn, even in the tarots my life comes out in a clumpy mess. But this time…this time, the tarot says some serious shit. I mean, there was no contradiction it was my days as if I had scripted the story unfolding. Then health pops up. I’m asked if I have any silent questions. Anything, ‘cause the cards apparently say there is something, to be addressed.
It was a stupid thing to do, right? Or maybe I don’t have to be so hard on myself. Really, it kind of entertains me…the power of suggestion influenced by this poorly played hand of gin rummy. Of course I ask “Do I have cancer?” And my friend, he responds, not knowing my question. Not knowing any of my words, he says “Yes.” Solid and firm, he tells me the meaning in the card. It’s bad. I swallow, and guess what, that lump…it swallowed back rummy. That was nine days ago.
Now, I’m four days out from the appointment with the specialist. Cancer pops up everyday. I watch Oprah and this professor guy is dying of cancer…He gives this last lecture that has sprung up on Utube. And he asks, “Can you look back and say you lived your dreams?”
Now, me I am still in the wait-and-see-game. I have nothing but a concerned doctor and this tarot reading giving me pause. I really wished I hadn’t asked the question…
It’s a mind fuck really. I’m not ready for the harder things in life, not my own. This is too deep, even for me…I’m too young to process this one, I tell myself. Of course my internal dialogue points out that my thought was a really ageist comment and it’s completely irrelevant to cancer anyway.
I want to shuck off this heavy stuff building up in my throat. I find its best not to go there…I mean the worse case scenarios playing out in my head. It’s kind of like telling yourself to not look down when you’re up so high. I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna look.
I tell myself, in the wait-and-see-game, it’s probably best to focus on life and not tread unconfirmed roads. So, of course, people are talking about cancer everywhere. It doesn’t help that this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I’ll be damned if that Susan G. Komen Foundation didn’t do a bang up job in getting the word out there.
A friend of mine this past week, as we laughed over my tarot story, reminded me that perhaps its okay to tread this heavier road and let myself listen to what the universe is telling me. To be honest, I’d never go there, not this time, if she didn’t point it out for me. ‘Cause when I say stories of cancer are popping up everywhere, I mean its everywhere. It helps that I can joke and laugh already and I have friends who will go there with me.
Tonight. Tonight though, it kind of broke me into tears. I’m sitting at a concert…Erin McKeown who performed at The Ark, if you must know. I’m really digging her since she played that set at Michigan Women’s Music Festival with Melissa Ferrick. Good stuff.
I’m sitting there with a friend and her jamboree of friends. It’s a fun time, an odd time, I’m there for Erin so it doesn’t matter to me, really.
She [McKeown] tells us about three of her friends getting cancer and the song that came from that.
What were her words again?
Oh yeah, something about cancer is here to teach us something. Or maybe I’m projecting that onto what she was saying. We need to listen to what cancer is trying to tell us is more like what she said.
I’m sitting there pretty certain I’m getting the distinct feeling that this GoGo is suppose to be listening to something. I realize, I’m scared. I’m not sure what I am listening too. Don’t get if this means I am suppose to take stock of my life when that is what I thought I was doing in the first place. I mean I am finally accomplishing one of my secret secrets where I am transforming this huge part of myself – literally. I’m not ready to assess if I am living my dreams. I’m trying to IS my best answer…and then my thoughts go to Mecca where every Muslim must make the journey, and even if they do not make it, as long as they take the first step on their pilgrimage to Mecca and die…they made the attempt and it counts.
I am not of the Islamic faith, but that story told once upon my days held tight to me. I like the idea of life as a pilgrimage meant to be taken toward something greater than our selves.
I don’t want a partial step to where I am heading, where I am leading myself. I have not accomplished my dreams, but I feel like I might just get there. I can’t face death now.
I say this and to be quite honest, 11 days ago I wondered, was I really getting anywhere?
And it’s not death. I don’t even know if its cancer, but I’m still getting this solid feeling that I’m supposed to be getting something from all of this.
If I break up this past week or so, it’s easier for me to understand why serendipity is a kind event in my days. I already know myself enough to know, had a card not forewarned cancer, I’d not take this wait-and-see-game seriously. I’d blow off even the possibility of cancer. I could have easily canceled the appointment for another time. Or at least not push the issue. So many stories out there start out with I was young, the doctor thought nothing of the lump AND six months later it was too late…OR had I not fought for a test, I’d have died. I am very conscious of the possibility of cancer and I am going to push for the absolute test to rule it out.
As for the rest…I don’t know…I guess I’m gonna stop trying to drive this life of mine as if I am the only one trying to get me somewhere and take my hand off this wheel. I feel like a passive passenger with no clue where this road is going.
…but I am listening.
Labels: working it out