You know the feeling, you buy a car and suddenly notice that same car everywhere. Well, that’s happening to me...but with cancer. The Frequency Bias (or Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon) has become quite disturbing, and I’m hoping my “bias” for noticing this everywhere will stop.
Despite my hopes, it seems like almost every movie I watch has some tragic end or features a side character who’s fighting cancer. I even watched “Tenet” (an action-adventure), hoping to get away from the cancer theme, but then a villain randomly has (you guessed it) cancer at the end of the film.
I read a smutty romance last week, with a cowboy, a damsel...and cancer. I turned to newspaper articles and shorter stories, but those too are about cancer. AND I’ve been getting emails from drug reps pressuring me to try their “cure for cancer”—I wish those sharks would leave me alone.
I had yet another MRI on Friday, to see if I need more radiation since they found a new growth in my shin, plus issues with my hip. And the whole thing felt so different. When they make you change your clothes and leave all of your jewelry behind...well, as I stayed in the MRI machine—which honestly felt like a coffin—I kept thinking that this is the perfect metaphor for death.
I stayed in the machine for an hour and 15 minutes because they ended up doing two scans after finding something in my back.
As the machine whirred around me, I thought of leaving my worldly belongings behind. When you strip me of everything...my ability to play the violin, my health, my love of writing...when you get to the essence of who I am... Well, I just wonder if I’ll be good enough to spend eternity wherever God is.
The MRI finally ended and it was a good thing because I’d been fighting a panic attack. As I collected my things and dressed in regular clothes, I thought of how it’s time to breathe and find some semblance of peace. I might be seeing cancer everywhere, but I think it’s really just because I’m scared. I’m not scared in the traditional sense. I’m not necessarily scared of dying (not right now anyway) but I’m scared of the suffering: Going to treatments every six weeks. Enduring radiation. Possibly getting even more surgeries.
If anything, I find this a fascinating study on America’s preoccupation with preserving life. If we’re not producing movies, books, or newspaper articles about it, we sure are talking about it over coffee...fearing the inevitable. Why? Since when did something so natural become villainized to this extreme? No wonder—deep down—everyone is so scared. Instead of being willing to embrace death when it’s time, we continue fighting, spending every dime we have to stave off something all of us will experience some day. Yet, I’m doing the same thing because more time with my family...well, that’s priceless. I just want to see all of my kids turn 18. I’m not shooting for the moon...not really.