Hoping the Meter Maid’s a Slacker, and Other Cancer Dreams

Hoping the Meter Maid’s a Slacker, and Other Cancer Dreams
“You’re name’s not on the schedule,” a lady told me, glancing up from her screen with a question mark. “But I made this appointment six months ago,” I said. “Could you check again?” I’m in the Cancer Survivorship Program, and twice a year, I travel to the Bay Area for a checkup and mammogram. “Sorry, we just have you down for an exam, no mammogram. You can see your doctor and then come another day for the other part.” I proceeded to the exam room, worried. Rescheduling my mammogram would be hard. I took an airplane to get here. That means booking a flight, renting a car, paying for lodging, economizing on food. I leave my family, reschedule work, and figure out who’s going to water my tomatoes while I’m gone. Yes, in the desert where I live, vegetable gardens are flourishing now. And the purpose of all these logistics is to see if my cancer is back. During chemotherapy, my oncologist told me I have a 40 percent chance that it will return, and if it does, it will likely be fatal. So, nerves pile up around these semiannual visits. “You seem anxious,” the doc observed during my exam. I made an effort to relax my clenched jaw, but my brain was a tornado while she asked routine questions. “Are you getting plenty of exercise? Enough calcium?” I was thinking about the mammogram. Who would have thought I’d ever want one so bad? “We’ll get you into radiology. You’ll just have to ca
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