This weekend, the boyfriend and I went to upstate New York to visit his 88-year-old grandfather. On Sunday morning, we were taking a tour of the tiny town where my boyfriend’s mom grew up, and my boyfriend’s grandfather was pointing out all of his doctor’s offices. When we passed the hospital, he pointed that out as well, saying that’s where he spent a lot of time getting chemo for his prostate cancer, which he survived and has been free of for a while now.
Sitting in the back seat, I thought to myself, ‘That’s something we have in common, cancer.’ Of course, in reality, the similarities in our situations are few. But everytime I hear someone who has gone through chemo, I feel a small jolt of curiousity, compassion, and fear. I would have liked to ask him what chemo was like. Did it hurt? Did he lose his appetite? Was he forever changed? But I didn’t ask anything, just kept quiet and let the moment pass.
The reality of age is that you’ll have to deal with all of those medical problems, and you see your life as a map of doctor’s offices and pills and hospital visits. I shouldn’t have to think about those things at my age, but when I’m confronted with a conversation about cancer or chemo or anything like that, my thoughts sour. Everytime that hapens, I move a little closer to wanting surgery, wanting this plague of worry gone from my life. It goes away eventually, but sometimes in quiet moments, I find myself wondering why I’m waiting… what i’m waiting for.
So many people in this world have had cancer, are suffering through it currently, or will get it in their lifetimes. They’re all connected by the cancer connection – an unfortunate cord. I have to accept that I am now part of that network, whether I like it or not.