Today, I had a check-up with the retinal specialist as ongoing follow-up for a torn retina that was repaired about 18 months ago. As part of the exam, he also checked on the “freckle” on my retina that was discovered by my ophthalmologist recently. It turns out that I have them in both eyes and while I’d never heard of retinal freckles before, it seems that once you have a cancer diagnosis, these are things that need to be monitored regularly as they can be signs of retinal cancer. The good news is that they are still something to be watched and not something to be worried about at the moment. The bad news is that this is the way life will likely go from now on. I found myself sitting in the waiting room steeling myself for the worst, feeling resentful that I was finally feeling good and what if I had to go back to square one with a new cancer diagnosis, and trying to stay calm.
Next week, as a result of the colitis I developed as part of a bout of flu last month, I get to have an off-schedule colonoscopy “just to rule out” colon cancer. Based on the many tests I had when I was in the hospital with the flu, it’s likely that the colitis was transitory and not due to colon cancer, but I still have to proceed with an abundance of caution, as do my doctors. While I appreciate their concern and care, I also wish that I could have a little time off to forget that I am a cancer patient — to just live, enjoy the springtime, and get on with my life.
I suppose that these are reminders that I need to be prepared at every turn for a little thing to turn into a bigger thing and that I will always be viewed through the lens of cancer. It’s a good day (like today) when the specter of another kind of cancer gets to go back into a dark closet for a while. Tomorrow I might not be so lucky. So here’s to retinal scans and colonoscopies and the hope of good results.