13 December 2007

Thought For The Day

This morning after dropping my daughter off at school, I headed over to a local hospital. I had an appointment and a couple other things to do there like pick up my new contacts and have some blood drawn so my doc can check to see if my new level of thyroid medication is doing its job.

I entered the building and headed for the stairs since I really dislike waiting for elevators. I descended to the lower level and exited the door. I looked to my left and saw the cancer center where, 23 years earlier, my mother had had her chemotherapy treatments. Though I knew it would be there, the sight of this place jarred me. I turned to the right and headed for the breast imaging clinic where I would be manhandled by a machine. Yep, it's mammo time. I wasn't particularly concerned as this is a yearly deal, yet, there was a niggling thought at the back of my mind. What if they find something? But everything was negatory, good buddy. Which is good.

I left the building in an odd mood. Why was the sight of the cancer treatment center such a shock to me? I'd spent some time there with my mom when she was being treated for breast cancer. I remember one visit where I actually went into the treatment room with her. Usually, I just stayed in the waiting room. She sat in one of the many chairs and waited for the nurse to hook her up to her particular intravenous cocktail of cell-killers. I sat on the floor next to her and did homework. Other patients were partitioned off with curtains and I remember trying not to hear a lady vomit.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 42 and it wasn't until recently that she confided she was stage III when she received her diagnosis. That's more than half-way to terminal. In hindsight, that scares the bejezus out of me. But at 15, it never occurred to me that she could die. It just wasn't a possibility. So she went through surgery, chemo and radiation, plus rounds of steroids, anti-nausea meds and 5 years of tamoxifen. She's a tough bird, my mom.

Maybe that residual fear of losing my mom is what bothered me. Or now that I'm 38, a mother myself, and well acquainted with the fact that I'm not immortal, I'm afraid of being diagnosed.

I paid my $1 parking fee and headed to the gym. Today was a running day and I had time enough to run a 5k before picking up Flynn at school. It took me a while to find my stride but once I hit it, I ran faster and faster and faster clocking 3.1 miles in 29 and a half minutes. I was running like I was either chasing something or being chased.

Was I running to good health or away from the spectre of disease?

2 comments:

Mrs. Chicken said...

I know what you mean. My dad was diagnosed with stage B colon cancer when he was 50, and the Mayo Clinic believes his tumor began to grow in his early 40s.

I'm 36 and I have a colonoscopy every three years, and every three years I hold my breath and think about what my dad is missing.

Mary A said...

I too know that ooof you get- A few days ago I had to stop up at the CCU unit where I have not been in 4 years since my dad passed at 59. Just stepping off the elevator and getting the smell sent me reeling and later in the afternoon I made sure to get my blood tests (for diabetes) scheduled so I can hang around for my kids too.