Saturday, April 24, 2010

D Day Minus 234 (July 17, 2009)

You walked toward me where I waited for you in the common area of the office complex of Virginia Radiology. Your head moved forward and back and you had a little bounce in your step. You were clad in three year old khaki shorts and two year old brown Pumas that looked almost new - thanks to your compulsion to keep your things nice. No one would have ever known the scars you harbored from so many surgeries or the port in your left chest ready for chemo. You had gained nearly forty pounds since your bowel resection last February. The only visible sign of your plight was a small purple scar on your lower right shin from a biopsy to see if a “bug bite” that just "disappeared” after six months was the original lesion.

Katie had on her Believe in Zebra wristband like us and carried the zebra shopping bag I gave her. She stayed five or so feet away from you and struggled to keep up – sort of like the old traditional Japanese wife – making sure to stay a step behind the master.

“Where’s the bathroom.” You asked for Katie. I pointed her in the general direction as she took a deep breath. I think she was counting breaths or something so she wouldn’t hyperventilate.

“I am so hungry. I haven’t been able to eat all day.” You said as you led the way through the smoked glassed doors into the Virginia Radiology waiting room. It was almost identical to all of other waiting rooms we had sat in. You checked in and I claimed seats for us.

“Here.” I said as I shook your hand when you sat down and gave you forty bucks. “So you stay fat.” I knew you were saving for furniture for your apartment. “You can go after your scan. And pig out.” Katie opened the smoked glass door from the waiting room and sat down next to you, got up, then nervously sat on the chair kitty corner from me.

You went back for your scan and left Katie and me in an awkward silence. I used the book you told me she was reading,The Tao of Poo, as the icebreaker. At first our conversation was angular and we collided over sentences. Before long we talked comfortably about our lives since you broke up: she had graduated with a Degree in Psychology; she loved Richmond where she went to school; she wanted to take a road trip with her sisters to Nashville; I had my own business; I was on a spiritual journey and was taking you with me; our trip to Hawaii the year before you were diagnosed; my backpacking trip through the British Isles with my niece Cindy; my trips to England and Hawaii with Morgan. We had a lot of time to fill while you were getting scanned. But we had a lot to say.

“Katie,” I said. “I am glad you are back in Greg’s life.” Katie’s lips quivered and her eyes got all watery. I think we hugged. “He needs all of our support now.”

I tried not to bring up your failed marriage. I was mostly successful. I just said you were both young and that cancer is really hard at any age. I knew you wanted to keep your vibrations high like we had decided last April at MD Anderson when you got a cancer free check up. You wanted to stay downstream and go with the flow.

“I just need to wait for the Radiologist to confirm the scan is good.” You said as you emerged from the ominous door where you had disappeared nearly two hours before.

“You can go Mom. I know you want to head down south to Bassett. Dad is probably waiting.” I kissed your forehead. “I can stay if you want.” You smiled and said, “Go.”

“You need to feed the machine. “ I said as I picked up my fake Chanel purse. “And don't you dare try to read the scan GRREEEGGG. Remember what happened last time.”

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