The Amazing Race

I've been feeling racey lately and I’m starting to think it might be anxiety. (Yes, starting.) Not head anxious, like the kind where you keep saying to yourself “Boy, I really feel anxious”, but body anxious.

Someone snuck in and set my heart to a higher speed. Maybe I sleep-dialed but I don’t remember. No amount of deep breathing moves it back. You get used to your body behaving a certain way, then it doesn't. And if you’re me, everything becomes suspect.

I’ve trotted out a police line-up of possible culprits. There’s the overdose level of organic dandelion tea, the sublingual sleeping pill I took two nights ago (attempts at tastiness as successful as lavender-scented dog poo bags), my 13 year old’s grade 6 level in grade 9 French, the somewhat obvious fact that I’m not talking about my kids at all, because that’s just not funny, and lung disease (I went for a little run yesterday with no problem, so that one’s a stretch, but I wanted to fill out the line-up).

I feel like I’m on one of those game shows where the audience can see what the participant can’t, and they’re all yelling “It’s Lymphoma!!!!” (You may have noticed it's NOT in the line-up). But the participant can’t hear what the audience is saying. She has to figure it out herself.

It’s easy right now to ignore the facts. I feel healthy (aside from my heart having entered a race without my permission and the hot dog occasionally calling out). I feel able and normal. I don't want a fuck-load of toxic treatments that'll force me to open my eyes, then close them and stay on the couch.

Yesterday when I started to feel an actual pain in my solar plexus, I called my sister-in-law who’s a pharmacist. She told me she’d be pretty worried if I wasn’t anxious. One of my closest friends Kathy has cancer, now I have cancer, and I’m in limbo waiting to find out where it's lurking and what treatment choices the medical world has to offer me. Then I get to pick off a tray of items I only recognize by name (who knew chemo wasn’t one thing?), or go shopping in a foreign land where I don't speak the language, then listen to folks say the treatment is worse than the disease. And from now on I’ll live with the constant and real fear of that thing I only theoretically thought I might possibly get.

“You’ve always been worried about cancer. Didn’t you kind of think one day it would happen?” my friend Wendy asked.

Fuck, no. That was just random worry - more effective if targeted. If I had it to do over, I’d find something better to do with all that wasted time.

Right now life feels like a process of making and remaking sense so quickly nothing comforting gets to stick. I’m carrying my free-refill bag of worries and sprinkling them liberally wherever they need to go. And where they don’t. Will I ever pass on the refill?

Today my heart feels better. Maybe it was the sleeping pill.


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