Yesterday was the last day of a tough week.
Last Tuesday, I had a checkup with my oncologist. I find our annual visits to be exhausting and extremely nerve wracking. This is utterly lost on my doctor who, despite being one of my favorite people, appears to be oblivious to the damage cancer has done to my soul.
After every visit, I resolve to cut him some slack. After all, he sees sick people every day. To him, I am a victory, a fair damsel snatched from the jaws of death.
Oh, the checkup? Everything was fine.
On Wednesday, Ann died. The other Ann, who had confided in me about her recurrence six months earlier. Everytime I saw her, I’d take her aside and ask how it was going. “I’m doing great!” she’d say. “I survived this thing once, I’ll do it again!”
Her passing came as a complete surprise. I realized when I heard the news that I hadn’t seen her in a few months and kicked myself for not noticing.
Then, on Sunday, I learned that my best friend’s mother was also dying. Another breast cancer recurrence. She too would be ripped from the world too soon.
To say that these two cases shook me to my core would be a laughable understatement.
There’s a lot of horse trading that goes on in my mind. One of my coping mechanisms when I was sick was to reflect on how, because I was going through treatment, someone else wouldn’t have to. Someone who might have not been as strong as I was.
Now, the flipside of the coin. I’m fine, and two other women have died or are dying.
Nothing about any of this is fair or right.
Yesterday I got a pep talk for the ages from my friend Elaine. She said “You are stronger than you know.” This morning, Facebook continued the theme. My friend Krista Riddley posted this reminder: “The Secret: Keep Going.”
And in the end, that’s all we can do. We have to keep going. We have to keep making meaning while we can.
What other choice do we have?