"Oh my God. I think I have left jaw-bone cancer."
"What?" Brett asked, and then thinking better, ignored me. "Want to go for a run with me?"
"That would be pretty hard to do, considering the jaw cancer I am trying to tell you about."
He rolled his eyes. "Why haven't you made a doctor's appointment here yet? Not for your 'jaw cancer', but you seriously need to make an appointment. Don't you have to.." he gestured with his hand wildly in the direction of my uterus. "Get that all checked out and everything?"
"Is there something wrong with it?"
He shot me a warning look as he laced his shoes. "Please make some doctor's appointments, ok? Some check ups. And your back has been bothering you too, so we should focus on your core..."
He was right, as usual. (However, my "core" is none of his business.) I had not been to a doctor in a long time, and it was entirely irresponsible of me. I had been in a new city and had made no moves to choose a new dentist, gyno, wine distributor, nada. Usually I am passionate about upkeep. I have seen too many people I love in my life find things wrong when it was too late...and as a functioning hypochondriac I always prided myself on remaining MORE than up-to-date on my body's check ups.
I come from what I will call a "medical" family. My father works for a funeral home, and at a VA hospital- so there is a WEALTH of information there that he can supply me with. My mother has always been known to drag heavy volumes of medical dictionaries to my pediatric doctor's appointments, gently trying to imply through garbled Latin medical terms that I was probably in danger of dying every 5 seconds. She would balance the awkward book on her lap and watch with hawk eyes everything they did to me, slipping tongue depressors in her pocket as we left. (She's now in nursing school. Congrats mom! Glad I could help!) With this sort of rich history, I grew up way too aware of my own body. When my mother started assisting with colonoscopies at her training hospital, I sat down with my doctor a week later, asking him if it was time for me to get checked out there.
"Are you having any problems? Have you noticed any changes?" He asked, worriedly, scribbling on his pad.
"Well, no." I answered.
He paused and looked up at me as I avoided his gaze to check out a poster on the early signs of melanoma. Hm.
"You're very young, and very healthy. I don't think we need to explore that yet."
"Explore that? Ha."
"I trust you remember the way out?" He asked, standing.
And I did. Of course.
I've come to understand that my fear of disease comes from a fear of not living enough. I lie awake and watch Brett's chest rise and fall as he slumbers, his hands delicately placed over his chest in an x-pattern as he sleeps on his back. (I hate that he does that. It's like a wake in my bed every night.) Last night I woke him up twice, pushing cold toes into his calf muscles until he snorted awake.
"Wha--- WHAT?! ARE YOU OK?!" he would ask, gasping and breaking his funeral mode of sleep.
"Well, I'm fine now." I'd reply primly, rolling over onto my side.
(That will teach him to sleep like a dead person.)
Lately, life has taken on a certain sort of...uncertainty. We have no idea where we will be living in a few months. We have no idea if anyone wants to ever hire me. We have no idea where we will make a home, if we will have kids, or dogs, or end up with a llama farm.
But, we have a certain sort of control over our heath. Or, I do. I just hope this left-jaw-bone-cancer isn't serious.
Because I'd like to see the next chapter in this very (healthy) life.