Tomorrow morning, I’ll make my way down a long corridor, and into Thompson Cancer Survival Center. I’ll have a nurse access my port…a small bulb-like device attached to a vein or artery and implanted in my chest. The clinician will feel for three little bumps that form a triangle. The needle goes right in the middle of the triangle. It hurts, but not too much. The volatile aroma of alcohol swirls around as the port is flushed and cleaned, and then samples of blood drawn. It’s geek out worthy, but has to be done.
The blood sample go into various machines, and the red liquid is exposed to numerous chemical reactors. Those tiny blood cells will tell a story. The big question is whether the cancer excised from my colon and liver has returned. It turns out blood cells are excellent stool pigeons, as they contain footprints left by the criminal….cancer.
I won’t be the only person getting a cancer re-check in the morning. I won’t be the oldest, the youngest, or the most important. I don’t want to lead the way in the march back to your doctors of re-checks. But if by going first, or going with you…you will, indeed, go… they can stick me twice.
Cancer is not a disease you fight alone. First, if you have a family they should stand with you. Make your peace with Your Creator. Foxhole religion is good….having religion before you wind up in a foxhole is better. Then your friends, and friends you meet along the way. Your best resource might be the nurse who answers the phone, or even the social worker who helps you. But it’s you ….about you….concerning you…and YOU have to decide to get that re-check or re-screening.
Years ago, when we wanted to see our final grade in a class at UT, we had to walk to the classroom or building door….look up our initials, or Social Security number, or some identifier…. then scan across the page to see or grade. That was, for me, an often scary walk because I knew the news was not going to be as good as I wanted…especially when I looked up those grades on the doors of the science buildings.
But…c’mon….lets walk up to the door together, and get checked. Just for today, let’s get that done.
God Bless us all.