Lady In Waiting

sirenThat’s me minus the queen and the court. I wait. I wait to go to the doctor’s appointments. I wait for the results of scans and tests. I wait for phone calls giving me good news or shattering my life. I wait to fall asleep through my anxiety. I wait to eat because my stomach is twisted in pain. I wait for my husband to come back from overseas. I wait for the end of the work day so I can call a friend.

I wait wondering if the cancers are going to peek back out of the darkness. Are they waiting in some hidden corner of my body, getting their armor ready? Sharpening their knives? Loading their guns? Bending over a table covered in battle plans?

It feels like a never ending state of suspension, strung out energy that vibrates through my body and makes me sit stiffly. It carves furrows between my eyebrows and etches lines on my forehead. It shortens my breath until it’s shallow and fast.

I find myself staring in space, barely blinking while my foot is moving at ten miles an hour until my slipper flies off. I grip my dog’s leash so tight that my knuckles hurt. I watch TV and have no idea what’s on.

I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t know how to stop it.

Redirecting my thoughts works for three seconds and I am back in the downward vortex of worst case scenarios. Changing tasks to stop the anxiety grip turns me into an ADD freak that can’t sit still for longer than two minutes.

If I was a dog I would be pacing around the apartment and would have licked my paws raw by now.

I slice my life in segments between scans and check-ups.

I am like a rat in a maze running around, sniffing frantically, bumping into dead ends but always hoping I will get to the end of the labyrinth. The scariest thing is that I have no idea how big this maze is. Is the exit around the corner? Do I just need to take a few more steps? Or is the malicious puppeteer who pulls my strings laughing at my pathetic attempts because he built the maze so big I won’t get to the end before I die?

I see him gazing at me from far above, puffing on a cigar, having all the time in the world. He smirks with the half of his mouth that’s not holding the cigar and I see his yellowed teeth and purplish tongue. I look back down on the ground, scared, and slide my hands along the maze walls. I keep going. All I have is hope.


  1. Do you have someone to talk to about these feelings, like a therapist? Cancer is like war, in a way, and you and I are the soldiers coming home and trying desperately to resume a “normal” life. Sounds like you may need an understanding shoulder right now.

  2. Thank you for the comment. Not really. I saw one counselor but she just listened, agreed with everything I said and gave me a meditation CD. Those dont work for me…or any kind of guided imagery or meditation. I am looking for a new hobby besides writing. I need to do something or make something. 🙂

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