“Since your symptoms are persisting, we’d like to run some more tests including a cancer screening, if you are agreeable to that,” the doctor said.
Her words were not shocking to me. I’d done some research on my own and even considered cancer for what had been ailing me.
“Sure,” I said, “I just want to determine what is wrong.”
Regardless of the results of the test, my mind immediately went to how quickly I could get back into the weight room, one of my real true loves.
And with that, I found myself making an appointment to go and be screened for cancer.
I felt nothing in the process – no sadness or fear.
The morning of the appointment, I went to the hospital and signed in using a tablet.
They have better technology than public schools do, I thought to myself as I recalled being in elementary school in the late 80s and reading about how excited America was as Ronald Reagan was taking the office of the President of the United States in 1980 and what it held for the future.
I met the girl who would be administering my test. She was about my age – about 5’5″, blonde, and very pretty.
My new friend discussed the test with me and we were off! For some reason, the lights needed to be off and I laid on the bed in the freezing room with only the glow of the machine illuminating the room, as well as the young lady’s face.
The test began and she began evaluating the screen. I laid still and stared at the ceiling.
What if I do have cancer?
My thoughts began to permeate my mind.
Is it worth fighting? I am so tired already and feel so beat down.
Do I owe it to myself to fight? To my family? How about the people that came before me that had cancer and that didn’t have the same medical advancements and technology – do I owe it to them?
How much is this going to cost me? Is it worth it if I am going to die anyways?
To break the pattern, I looked over at my new friend to see if I could determine any type of tell in her face concerning the on-going test. She was very easy on the eyes and it was comforting as I tried to escape the thoughts passing through my head.
Who is going to pay for this? Next of kin would be my sister and I don’t want to burden her with either my care or my bills. She has her own life and her own family. She is overworked enough and she wouldn’t have the funds to afford this. The last thing I would want is for her to be burdened with my debt should I die.
The thought of dying didn’t scare me. It didn’t upset me nor did it make me happy. It just was. I peered over at my new friend who caught my glance and offered a smile and asked if I was okay to which I replied I was and thanked her for her consideration.
I’ve done so many things wrong in my life but I think atoned for them.
I began to think about the last five years of my life.
I’d be okay if I knew I was dying. I got farther in life than most people ever thought I would. Hell, I was told I would be dead at 21. I really worked to improve myself and change who I was and I was able to do that successfully. Not a lot of people can say they did that. I worked through difficult tribulations and trials. I made myself a better person and I tried to help people. Isn’t that what life is about?
My new friend again offered a smile but my thoughts began to sour.
If I did die, would anyone give a shit? Would they care? I’m tired of the posturing I see.
Would I have a funeral? Would anyone come to it? If so, what would they say?
I don’t believe in God, or any higher being, and I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell. I began to wonder if I made good on my purpose in life.
Did I do enough to try to make the world a better place than I found it?
And with that, the young lady announced we were done.
I asked her what her impressions of the reading were.
And I got this convoluted answer, “Well, I don’t see anything that stands out but I can’t really say for sure cause the Radiologist has to look at it and make the determination but I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”
A few days later I received the news I was negative for cancer.
But, my thoughts from the test continued to persist.
Photo 3 found in the public domain of the internet