I’ve just come from the doctors office where my blood test results have broken triple digits (they’re in the low 100s). To put it in perspective, normal is 5 for one of the markers and 30 for the other. I should be feeling like I want to crawl out of my own skin. I don’t.
I keep asking myself Why? What am I doing in this moment that is keeping me calm? Keeping me from walking out on the ledge? I don’t have an answer. If I did, I’d bottle it. Keep it in a safe place for the next time. Share it with those around me who need it.
Part of it, I suppose, is expectation. I’d already thrown this game in my mind. These numbers don’t matter. It’s the next set that should. Yet even those I’m not anxious about. There’s something – or someone – deep inside me that’s decided numbers don’t matter. That I’m not going to play the numbers game.
I’ve decided instead, to ask myself How do I feel? (Awesome!) Do I have any pain? (Not anything I can’t explain) Any indication this cancer has gotten ahead of me? (No!) Any indication that the good guys are losing the battle? (Not at all).
Yes, I know there are terrorists inside my body, just like there are terrorists in this world, in the state I live in, judging by the news I watch. And yes, they are a threat. Wrong place, wrong time, I could take on collateral damage. Could be game over.
The best I can do is be vigilant. About what goes into my body, what goes on my body, what goes into my head, my mind. I can’t say what it is that I’m doing today that I don’t always do. I really don’t know what is keeping me resolute.
I am heading for a conference in two days about clinical trials and new immunotherapy drugs that use the body’s own immune system to fight these rogue cells. It won’t offer answers, but it will offer a direction, one that I’ve chosen to take. A direction that’s unknown, that’s fraught with uncertainty. But where I am has no answers either. So I’d rather forge a new path than tread a worn one that only keeps me where I am.
As a wise woman once told me “When there are no answers, there are choices. And your choices will change, just as you will be changed by them.” Somehow, that advice is less frightening at the moment than the idea of staying stuck on the corner of No Answers and What If. I’ve made my choice. What If, here I come.