You might have noticed that I don’t mind getting personal on my blog.
I’ve always used my real name, and if you ask me how much money I make or what my investments are worth, I’ll tell you.
And I don’t mind sharing what (for me) is far scarier than anything the stock market could dish out. If you’re expecting me to write about money and you’d rather read a financially related post, then I’ll save you some time and suggest that you stop reading.
But if you want to hear what scares me far more than the stock market, I’ll be an open book.
When I build up enough courage to call my oncologist later today, I’ll be making an appointment for a MRI. I live in Singapore, where I can literally make a MRI appointment (in many cases) for the very next day. But that’s little comfort.
I’m nearing the second anniversary of my bone cancer surgery, where I had three partial ribs removed and some of my spine. The stock market has never really frightened me much….but this does.
First, there’s the MRI itself.
I must have been buried alive in a former life because (until recently) I would try busting myself out of MRI tubes if I ever entered one without full anaesthesia. Don’t let my friendly mug shot fool you. I can make David Banner’s alter-ego look like a giant green Buddha.
After numerous scans over the past 22 months, I’ve improved somewhat. I can tolerate the scan under massive sedation, if my wife massages my head on the other end of the tube.
But after an hour and a half of, what feels like, being crammed into a compartment of a roaring jet engine, the machine starts to heat up. That’s when the gamma radiation starts to alter my body chemistry, and the creature starts to grow angry and outraged. (Truthfully, I stole that last line from the old Incredible Hulk television series).
Truthfully, I get a full thoracic scan: half with a contrast dye and half without. The contrast is basically a sugar dye. It gets pumped into my bloodstream, and because cancer loves sugar, the dye lights up any “affected” areas for easier identification. Of course, it gets attracted to scar tissue and swelling as well, so you can be given a virtual death sentence by a jumpy doctor if it gets misdiagnosed. And yeah, that happened to me, in February 2010. I was literally told to get my house in order. But three months later, the misdiagnosis was fully confirmed. And no, I didn’t break the doctor’s nose.
After tolerating the MRI tube, I have to wait a couple of days before seeing my oncologist for the report. If you want to talk about fear, this is it. Give me a pad of paper and a pencil, while waiting for the oncologist to walk through the door, and I’d scribble my own name as legibly as a three year old could.
Fortunately, my oncologist cuts to the chase quickly. He walks through the door, shakes my hand and says right away, “Just so you know, you’re fine.”
The oncologist who starts talking about the weather and asking you about your latest holiday (instead of giving you the goods) deserves to be stuffed in a one-sided MRI for a week.
Fortunately, I don’t have to go through that. But the five seconds it takes for him to give me the good news feels like a century.
But I have to admit, I like the guy’s style. He jokes with me about patients who ask, “Am I going to die?”
Of course you’re going to die.
If you were creeping around for 200 years, you’d scare the crap out of people.
Few people face their own mortality. But doing so, I think, is a good thing.
I often hear about people who face a terminal illness before creating a bucket list of things to do before they meet Davy Jones.
But that kind of thing doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Does it make sense to you?