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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Can I Skip This Tuesday, God?

It's all the same to them. They don't look at you that way, Jennifer. That's what my mom says every time I go to the doctor. Specifically, anytime I have to go for an annual.

I guess it is all the same to them. A person, coming for a check up. The mechanic, taking care of maintenance on a vehicle, right? It's all the same to them....

Well, it's not all the same for me!!!

I hate Tuesday. I hate Tuesday, of this week because it's my appt. at the oncologist. Tuesday is not the same for ME.

I dread it from the moment I make the appt. I feel like throwing up the week before I go for the visit.

Three days before, I'm mad. I'm tough. This visit is nothing to me. It means nothing. I'm fine. But then I ask myself, but are you fine? Maybe not. Are those bad cells doing the happy dance in the one ovary you have left? Or maybe those cells have traveled. Maybe this will be the visit he tells me, how much time I have left.

Two days before, I'm emotional. I want to cry. I love my life. I want to cry. I hate that this happened to me. I love my boyfriend. I love my house. I love it all. I am pissed off that I have to have this bullshit rain on my pretty painting.

Two nights before I'm mad at myself. I should have been eating heathier. I drink way too much coffee. Damn you, Starbucks. I should be exercising more. I'm mad at me. I blame me. I'm a jerk.

Was it the chocolate? Was it standing too close to the microwave? Is it because I crossed my eyes too much? Did I stand too close to the TV? Did I let things get to me too much, and the stress just sat in my ovary? Did I let sadness into my skeleton? Maybe it took over? Or was it just because I forgot to put toilet paper on the seat when I went to the ladies room that one time?

The day before, my heart races. I feel sick. I'm sooo tired. I have trouble breathing. I think I can feel the cancer. I'm sure it's back. It knows I'm happy. It sees me smiling. It wants to take this all away from me. It doesn't want me to have peace.

Maybe if I act pissed off, it will stay away?

The night before, I think about the day in 1996. The day I found out that I had a 13 pound tumor in my abdomen. I think about this scared, little girl...who was blaming cookies for the swelling in her belly. The girl who thought the backache she was having was because she was sitting on the tiny school chairs, while she was student teaching. I think about the 24 year old girl, who was showered with holy water by her mother, taken to healing services by her father and who was promised this would all go away.

And it didn't.

I remember the moment I said goodbye to my family, thinking, what will my mother do if I don't come out? Everyone else will be ok...but what about my mother...

They strip your personality off you as they make you take off your nail polish, your jewelry and your clothes. You get that ugly, generic hospital gown and you are told to lay down on that cold, barren bed.

I don't want to lay down. I'm not tired.

Then the pre-op room. It's so cold in there. They give me a heated blanket. I was never so grateful for a blanket. It reminded me of when my mom would run our blankets in the dryer at night, when they weren't wet, just so they were toasty.

I want my mommmy. I want to scream, I WANT MY MOMMY.

The doctor comes in, smiling, rubbing my toes. Ironically, I feel comfort when I see the man who might control my destiny. Or maybe I was bargaining with him?

Now, I wait. I'm sorry mom, for all the times I answered you back. I'm sorry Richie, that I wasn't the cool older sister. Nanny, My heart breaks that you were making deals with God last night, asking him to take you, instead of me.

I was too much of a good kid, I should have done more. I shouldn't have focused so much on what everyone else thought. I should have lived.

I should have said, I'm wearing my earrings to the surgery, Dr. The earrings aren't what is going to kill me. It's the cancer.

I shouldn't, I could have...why didn't I?

It's too late, It's time.

11 years later, here I sit, two days before my next dr's appt. Scared shit, sorry, grateful, cold, feeling helpless as I know it's time to go in front of the man who will tell me my fate.

I'm going to wear my earrings.

I'm going to say a prayer, hoping my nanny will hear me, from heaven. I will tell her about the nights I have sat wondering if God heard her request and took her instead of me. And how that burns a whole in my heart.

I won't be mad that my father never came to see me in the hospital, because he was scared of elevators. I'm not going to be upset, knowing, that now that he and my mom are divorced, he won't even know I'm going to the doctor because he won't ask. Or because he doesn't contact me. Or send me a birthday card. I won't be upset that my own father doesn't know my fear.

I want to skip this Tuesday, God. But, I know I can't. Because if not this Tuesday, it will be another day that I must face this visit.

So, I will take a deep breath...

I am sure, I'll be fine. But if I'm so sure I'll be fine...why do I get like this?

I'm grateful, I'm lucky, I know it.

I'm grateful for the life I have. I'm lucky to be here.

I have been given the gift of 11 years. I must remind myself that some never get that.

And that thought, shuts me the hell up.

No, you can't skip this Tuesday, Jennifer. Be grateful for the gift of your second chance. Shut up, Jennifer. Ovarian cancer has stolen life from so many people, because of it's silence. You are lucky to have it noisey enough to be heard.

No, you can't skip this Tuesday, Jennifer. Be grateful for you could make the appointment.

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