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Our Bodies Are Ours…And Yet

Our bodies are ours. 

And yet,

it takes fancy machines and people with extensive medical training

to tell us how we’re actually doing, 

what our future holds.

The way we feel, 

the aches, the pains, the twinges 

or lack thereof, 

do not always accurately describe what is happening 

at a cellular level.

And so, 

we rely on fancy machines and people with extensive medical training

to tell us how we’re actually doing, 

what our future holds.

A clear scan is cause for celebration, and celebrate we do.

But the thing about our bodies, 

our cells, 

our cancers, 

is that they are not stagnant. 

They are ever-growing, ever-evolving,

a fact to which some walk through this world oblivious, 

not thinking for a moment 

about what may be happening 

or growing 

inside their very being.

But not those of us who have experienced bad news,

who have seen pictures of those cells gone wild,

who no longer have the privilege of oblivion.

We can’t unknow what our bodies are capable of,

in ways both positive and positive.

These ever-changing cells

cause the need for more scans, 

more tests to be booked 

in the not-so-distant future, 

Despite the good news of today,

the scheduling of which puts a bit of a damper 

on the celebration itself.

The celebratory vibe, 

the high that comes from getting an all clear, 

or at least an “all stable” reading, 

lasts for just a bit.

Just like a canned good whose seal has been broken, 

we know that the data from the scans begins to lose its freshness 

as soon as its been taken.

And so the confidence with which we feel 

we’re in the clear 

wanes

as the days go on. 

The energy shifts from celebration towards anxiety, 

scanxiety, 

as we can’t help but think about what may be happening, 

growing, 

multiplying 

in our bodies.

Our bodies that are ours, 

but that it takes fancy machines and people with extensive medical training

to tell us how we’re actually doing, 

what our future holds.

Our bodies are ours. 

And yet.

This was originally published at https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/survivorship/.

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One Response

  1. I saw how my cousin Gretchen’s life and that of her caregiver-spouse Terry became this cycle. Life between scans, between treatments, what’s next? Is this new symptom a side effect or is the cancer in some new place? Both of them trying to live a normal life amidst an abnormal diagnosis. All of us who love them trying to steer the conversation to normal topics, but always worried about what was happening, what was next, could she beat it? Our love was not enough and yet, that’s all we had to offer.

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