December 18. Real Time. So today is the day. At 4 o’clock this afternoon, I finally get my long-awaited audience with Dr. Rugo. I’m anxious. I spend my time imagining the conversations. The debates. What she thinks I should do as opposed to what I’m willing to do. I remind myself that Dr. Rugo is practicing medicine. Practicing. She will strongly recommend a course of treatment based on the success she has had practicing on other patients. But I’m not other patients. I’m me. I’ve been practiced on before. I know that 19 years ago, every decision I made about my cancer treatment was based on fear. The fear of dying sooner than later. They tell you the mortality rate of having treatment vs. not having treatment. And it scares you. So you say yes to radiation. You say yes to chemotherapy. You say yes to whatever they feed you that they say will help you live longer. But I was 47 years young then. Life was good, really good…except for one small, life-threatening thing. I wanted to live. So I did whatever they told me I should do.
I’m not 47 anymore. I’m not afraid anymore. I want to live, of course. But I’ve been told my situation is not dire. And this is what I imagine I will be reminding Dr. Rugo. After all, how dire can it be when she has waited three months to even see me? What guarantee can she give me that chemotherapy (which would take 4 months to complete) will shrink the tumor? Here is what I want. I want to get surgery scheduled as soon as possible to have the tumors removed and have the conversation about adjuvant therapy afterward. That’s it. So on this BIG day I’ve been anticipating for 3 long months, I’m going to pull on my combat boots and my flak jacket and head out the door to my future. My future. More to follow…
As for my BIG week. This is my last week as a working class stiff. I’m retiring. Officially my last day is 12/31/18. But I work for a college, and the college is closed the last week of the month for winter break. That means after Friday all I have to survive is the holidays. Well, not just the holidays, but you know what I mean. To the future. May it be brighter and happier than we could ever imagine.
The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart. —Buddha