A Half-empty Glass

A Half-empty Glass
I crammed myself into a middle seat, a heavy set lady on one side and a talkative gentleman on the other. It was all too late by the time I realized that my laptop was secured in the overhead compartment. I’m stuck, I thought, and rummaged through my purse to dissuade the talker from launching into a conversation from which I wouldn’t be able to escape. I was on my way from Palm Springs to San Francisco to find out if my deadly cancer is back or if I get another six-month reprieve. Twice a year I have to make these trips, and each time, I find myself clenching my teeth. What if it’s back? What if it’s back? “You have a 40 percent chance that your cancer will return within five years,” my oncologist told me the morning I started chemotherapy, “and if it does, it’ll be fatal.” Sometimes “chemo brain” makes my inability to recall information terrifying, but that doctor’s words stuck in my head like bad country music, its crappy lyrics playing over and over when I’m trying to think about other things. In the lead-up to my appointment this month, I had a terrible premonition that someone in a white coat was going to tell me, again, that I have cancer. Only this time, it would be in my left breast. “We need to take another look,” the technician told me six months ago during my last appointment. She’d hunkered down on my breast with all the force that mammogram machine could deliver, but it wasn’t good enough. They took image aft
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