Five years ago today, I sat in the chair at the Cancer Center for what would be my tenth and final round of chemo. I don’t remember much about that day, except that it was rainy, and I was worn out. In the world of a cancer patient, five is the magic number, the recurrence-free goal.
I’ve been marching toward this date for five years—counting down, marking time, on rough roads as well as smooth paths. The passing of the months and years means something. They measure me, even if only to myself and Dr. Pearl.
I don’t really need to think about where I was then and where I am now, do I? I don’t need to take stock, because I do that all the time, measuring and counting. Time is my capital. I have nothing to account for, no one else to be accountable to. Just time. It is the thing that I have, that I had, that I hold dear.
The years that I’ve spent chanting “all will be well” have been the preparation for this moment. This is the truth about waiting, and about time: All will be well. Now, and on and on.
In a few hours I’ll be back at the Cancer Center for my regular appointment with Dr. Pearl. My usual rituals will be in place: my good-luck earrings, the happy music, the parking space. Nothing terrible is happening, no surprises are in store. There’ll be the exam, and the test, and the conversation. We’ll smile, and we’ll congratulate ourselves on the anniversary and a job well done.
And I’ll go back in six months, and I’ll keep going back, for the rest of my life. And every time, we’ll be pleased and grateful and all will be well.
It’s all so simple, really.