Cancer is more pickpocket than robber: it catches you unawares; you find out about it after your wallet is gone. Most of the time, anyway.
But not all the time. My cancer was symptomatic before I was diagnosed in February of last year. The strange abdominal pain and my internist’s obvious concern after my annual physical left me unsurprised when the diagnosis came. Maybe it’s my customary pessimism at work, but I feel the same way now. Five months after chemo ended, I’m queasy all the time and nauseous much of the time, and I have a nonstop, low-grade headache that doesn’t always stay low-grade. The last few days, I’ve started to experience dizziness; I’m having trouble reading. My docs seem nervous: these could be signs that my cancer has spread to my brain—one of the places colon cancer likes to call home. Needless to say, that would be bad news. Another, less awful explanation is also plausible. These symptoms could be the effects of drug interactions; I’ve taken so many different pills that no one can say what the various combinations might do to me. My medical situation might be about to take a decided turn for the worse. Or, not so much. Either way, I’ll know soon.
Soon enough, by my lights. An old saying gets it about right: good news will keep, and bad news will find you. Part of me wants to know what the near future holds. Another part wants to hold onto my ignorance awhile longer—after all, ignorance is the only state I can freely choose. Choosing it now, if only for a week or two, feels empowering.