Two years ago I was host to a cancerous tumor, which grew to the size of a grapefruit before I noticed it, and was quite a bit bigger by the time I was rolled into surgery and they cut it out, perfectly round, perfectly contained.  I carry on my body the memory of this: a pink, nine-inch scar.  The emotional memory, the waves on the water, carry themselves throughout intervening months and recreate themselves in each year’s language.

Last month, for example, the radiologist who did my yearly check-up ultrasound told me as he turned from the huge white computer that he saw a fair-sized cyst on my (only remaining) ovary, with “debris” in it.  It could be anything, like a hemorrhagic cyst, normal, go away on its own, but since I had a history of malignant tumors, he was sure my doctor would want to follow up next month.  You can probably imagine me saying thank you, walking back into the long hall, field of vision a diffuse blanket of vague perception.  Sensing my way back to the car, back to the interstate, back to my house.  But this is my life, now.

In the next week, telling Marshall and my mom, I realized that an awareness of illness, or infertility, or the mortality that all of these unavoidably imply, is a much more peaceful house guest than I had thought.  Maybe I’m too young and too healthy to have a right to say that, but — maybe not.  Because I lived January with prescience, weighing all possible ends, and still knew so much joy.

For example, Marshall and I are writing a check and signing papers this week to reserve Ijams Nature Center as a wedding site.  For example, Marshall’s gentleness and unbending loyalty is teaching me things I never knew about love.  For example, true vulnerability and trust are making us new people, and we’re already walking over black chasms on a rope bridge.  No risk = no glory.  We’re presupposing.  Visions of Aslan and the letters of Rilke rise up in our dreams and we awaken to snow falling, in long straight crystals or great cattail-fluff flakes.

For example, Dr. MacDonald sat us down in the office yesterday, shook our hands, and said congratulations on some good news — the ultrasound images were clear of anything worrisome.  So we took a cloud down to the first floor, a connecting cloud to the car, and a cloud to Carabba’s, where we had an extreme amount of incredible food at 4:00pm.

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