It was pouring rain. So bad, Teresa was clutching to the car door and was as stiff as a board. We could hardly see 10 feet in front of us.
There was no getting off the Toll Road or pulling over. I had to get my every 6 month PET Scan. I had to be there in 20 minutes. I had to drive through the monsoon no matter what. This was a big one––the scan, not the weather––that would tell me if cancer had returned. Or not. So no backing out now. No excuses. Just do it. (Hey, I think I've heard that before). Drive, baby, drive. "I'm glad you're driving and not me", said Teresa. I had to chuckle inside, because the pouring rain was taking her mind off of having to go with me. These tests/scans have a way of really screwing my body up––no caffeine, no sugar, no exercise, limited carbs for 24 hrs, nothing to eat or drink at all 6 hrs before except water––and the test takes about 3 hrs.
When we get there, the rain stops. That's weird. What was even weirder––that's a word, right?––was the place was a mess. They were putting in a new camera I found out later. Seems the other one wasn't working. And there were construction people walking all over the place, yelling, moving, banging and just complete chaos. It was like something out of MASH. So after they stick me in the arm and shoot the dye in my body and keep me in a almost dark room for 45 minutes, they come and get me. The technician says, "follow me. We have to take you to a trailer." WTF? A trailer? Are they gonna give me test or take me to trailer park? In this weather? Isn't Hurricane Bill coming by? Isn't a trailer THE WORST place to be when the winds get nasty?
After the long walk down the entire length of the building, they walk me into a huge trailer, with all the bells and whistles. I see the monitors. I see a dude in some scrubs. I see the tube that will house my body and check for cancer. Once again, I had to chuckle inside. Weird shit happens to me all the time, so much so, that I've come to expect and accept it. Why fight it, right? Just roll with it, chalk it up to experience and live to tell the story another day––tough way to post something interesting––with the emphasis on living. By now, my head is pounding. It feels like hammering cement. Ever take a hammer to cement? Man, oh man-a-chevits.
Once I'm done, I have to sit in a chair for 10 minutes while they check and see if the scan worked. Again, WTF? Then I realized, it's a trailer, man. And the worst is over––sort of, because my head is still pounding. The tech says, "OK, I'll see you tomorrow" as he walks out the door with a big trash bag. Yeah, real funny dude. He thinks he fakes me out and then says, "I'm kidding, you can go now." So I walk out the trailer into the sunlight, down the hall and go through the front door to get Teresa, who has been patiently waiting for me for about 3 hrs. She looks up like, "what are you doing coming in the front door." I tell her my journey and we both have a laugh.
The drive home is much less adventurous. But I'm not feeling well at all. Now my stomach is starting to do back flips and my head has gone from a hammer to an ice pick being driven into my head with a hammer. When we walk in the front door, Teresa says to me, "so if this one comes back clean, we don't have to go back for another year, right?" Yes. That's right. The thought of not having to go through this for another year sounded good. But was even better was that Teresa said "we". Because that truly is the other side of cancer. Those you love, those who love you, those who are your friends and co-workers and all who count on you are right there, feeling things that they can't explain and don't want to. Those people make it worth fighting cancer EVERY DAY.
We. Us. Together.