That damn elephant just won’t go away. Lumbering in, firmly taking my attention from the here and now to its swinging trunk, like the pendulum of a clock. Tick tock. Tick tock. Its gray countenance like a storm cloud darkening my days. Sigh.
That elephant entered my life a few months ago, and although I’ve become fairly skilled at boxing it out, this week the elephant is fully present and staunchly refusing to leave. The elephant’s name is cancer.
In late November, one of my docs ordered an ultrasound for some right side pain I’d been having. I figured my gallbladder would be on the chopping block, since that outcome runs in the family. What they found was a total shock and something more insidious. Renal Cell Carcinoma. Kidney cancer. I say the words in my head when it demands recognition, but saying it out loud is infinitely harder. Why is that?
The tumor is small at around 1.6 centimeters. According to the best-in-the-country docs I’m seeing at Memorial Sloan Kettering, that’s too small to do anything about presently. Active surveillance is the official term. This week was my first three month surveillance scan and early next week I meet with the docs to review the results. The idea is to remove it once it’s around 2.5 centimeters, but before it reaches 3 centimeters and could possibly spread. Here’s what I think about that-that’s a freaking thin margin.
It feels like I’m betting my life on 1/2 centimeter. Betting that the tumor won’t decide to grow like a viral social media post. That it’s not an aggressive kind. That it will grow as slow as most cases of this type do. That it won’t spread.
So it goes that a 1/2 centimeter elephant will determine the direction of my life. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.