Waiting for it to happen

Lately I find myself drifting back to the evening of my first chemo treatment. I get into bed and lie down and I am instantly transported back to that first night. The small catch in my breath reminds me I am still waiting, waiting for “it” to happen. I don’t know what “it” is, only that it likely isn’t good, and so I wait for it to unleash its unholy hell upon me.

In reality, nothing bad happened that first night. Maybe I was colder than usual, sweat a great deal and felt like I could have drunk Lake Erie, but none of it was scar-worthy. No vomiting or runaway fever or any number of horrible scenarios that can be imagined thanks to the silver screen, yet still, I wait.

Odd that such a milk-toast memory would linger. Maybe if something nightmarish had ensued that first night my wait would be over. I would have a bad memory to look back on and be done with it. Maybe a Linda Blair impersonation that first night would have set my fears at ease, the worst being over, and I could go on my merry way, but alas, I didn’t, so I can’t, and so here I am, waiting.

I’m not one to shy away from a memory, but this one is picking up steam and rears its head with surprising regularity. There is nothing to unpack other than this nagging sensation of unrequited fear. I suppose there is such a thing; the let down of an expectation unmet is a powerful thing. Why limit it only to love? Let’s add fear to the mix and I can at least put the ‘why’ to bed.

And so we come full circle; back to bed, where I wait, for something to happen. It’s been two years since my treatment ended; I hear five years is some sort of benchmark, as is ten years. My oncologist says the longer you go without a recurrence, the lower your odds of it happening. Makes sense to me, although a part of me thinks it’s a crap shoot. The body is a complicated place …

And so I wait …

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