(* The meteorological one, not the one at which animals eat.)
Another CT scan tomorrow (chest, abdomen, pelvis — because my head is covered by the MRI, and below the pelvis is… expendable, I guess?).
You’d think a scan would hardly make me bat an eyelash now. But you’d be wrong. It’s pretty hard to forget the sneak attack melanoma perpetrated on my lungs — almost two years ago now — and thus, hard to put out of my mind the notion it could happen again, perhaps in another organ, or, even worse, the same ones (meaning the meds have stopped working). Asymptomatic maladies are the worst. The very definition of a mindfuck.
Still, there is always the way of distraction. We went to the beach yesterday. Not the one we meant to go to, on Fire Island, because somehow between J and I we were too distracted or beach-starved to realize the GPS was routing us past Jones Beach first, and then another 20 minutes down the road. Instead, we mistakenly opted for Jones Beach, which has much nicer landscaping on the walk from the parking lot:
We had a lovely time, regardless. None of us got too much sun (though the half of our family that freckles, freckled), and for perhaps the first time ever, the boys were too busy jumping waves and laughing maniacally when they were smacked by them to do much sand castle building or digging.
During an idle moment, when the beach got crowded, I asked Young J to look around at the different groups of people and decide which group he’d like to be part of when he gets older. The boisterous (drunk) people with the loud music? The huge extended family with their extensive feast? He said he’d probably come to the beach with his wife and kid.
We had a cloud looming over all afternoon. At one point, it seemed like certain doom:
But not a drop of rain fell while we were on the beach, though I would have been happy to retreat to our tent and zip ourselves inside it during a storm.
I wasn’t thinking much about mortality all day, until we got back to the parking lot and were confronted with it, in the form of a bumper sticker:
The sticker reads, If you were to die today (already a tricky sentiment to express on a moving vehicle — is it wise to keep death at the forefront of your mind while driving?) and the blue word indicates… is that the driver’s choice? Their conviction? Did the sticker come with a red Infierno sticker with a down arrow, so you could choose? It all seems so fishy, because it’s so binary. I’m no longer convinced of binarity, as a general concept. And certainly not when it comes to post-death reality (which in Judaism is known as the world to come).
All I need to do when I want to think about mortality is ponder my skin.
When your skin is the thing that has turned against you, there is no escaping the reminder of it. It is always there. A low-level warning. I’ve always liked my freckles, their seasonal proliferation. It is still, even several years into this cancer journey, hard to accept my skin as being my greatest liability. I still leave the house hatless, or without a speck of sunblock on, sometimes. (And that is not due to ignorance, not at this stage. Stage four, I mean. Or wherever in the now-useless staging scheme I may currently be.)
The weather is cooler, cloudier, this afternoon. A trough is a transition, after it comes a resolution. Tomorrow the scan, Wednesday morning, the verdict. In between: More loving, parenting, despairing, rejoicing, scheming, cooking. The living I do without stopping to marvel on a regular basis that I have been able to do it for this long.