Lois Hjelmstad

Lois Hjelmstad.com

Compassion and courage for the times you need it.

Do you dread your scheduled breast cancer checkups? Do you have trouble sleeping the night before?

Recently in a post on her blog, AnneMarie at Chemobrain talked about how scary she finds checkups to be. That reminded me of a poem I wrote in Fine Black Lines. May I share it with you this morning?

The checkups still cause
a tightness in my chest—
a primal fear

Every three months
the doctors poke and question—
Any bone pain?
Appetite OK?
Muscle weakness?
Nausea or vomiting?

Every six months
the lab tests and x-rays question, too—
CA 27-29?
Shadow on the screen?

Each time I pray for
"within normal range"

and wonder
what I will do
if the answers
are wrong

(Excerpted from Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness, copyright 1993, 2003 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

Last year, after twenty years, my oncologist finally gave me the go ahead to have checkups only twice a year instead of quarterly. I don't worry as much as I once did, but I am well aware that breast cancer could recur even at this late date.

Are you reluctant to schedule checkups?
Do you fear recurrence?

Note to my lovely commenters: I would like to thank all of you most heartily. I love reading your comments. I would make personal responses except I don't know how yet! 🙂

One Response

  1. I love that alphabet soup. And the primal fear. They speak to the essence of the matter. I do fear recurrence, because if the cancer comes back, it won’t be early stage. I have no more breasts. But I do have annual checkups that I don’t miss. xx By the way, you’ll catch on to how to make responses.

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