I have gone on record as making a commitment to living my life half-fast. So far, I’ve been monumentally successful.
It seems to me that life is organized by halves: half joy, half sorrow; half up, half down; half yin, half yang. Most things in the world are divided in half.
Think about it. There’s:
Half and half.
The cup is half full.
Not half bad, huh?
Numbers are simply our way of arranging or classifying quantities. They give order and symmetry and regularity to our existence.
Some numbers don’t necessarily have to be totally accurate to be valid. We can tweak them to represent what they OUGHT to be…for instance, age, weight, cleavage.
Nevertheless, numbers have a spirit, not just a value.
Some numbers cannot be altered to satisfy vanity. They say there is safety in numbers. That’s not always true. Often numbers are riddled with danger and menace.
Blood draws are never routine. There is a tense anticipation ever-present as the quarterly date approaches. And the weeks prior to lab day are fraught with angst.
Tweaking these numbers would serve no purpose. Their reality is stark and immutable. One single numerical value may alter a lifetime.
So we just don’t think about it. This year we went to Palm Springs to watch the tennis matches and celebrate our anniversary…and didn’t think about it. We clean the house and grocery shop and go through our day not thinking about it. Every minute we are acutely aware of what we’re not thinking about.
Blood work is like the body’s Rosetta Stone. The equations yield vital information. Some results can be good. But like the head of Medussa, some numbers can turn you to stone just looking at them.
Thursday morning, Dennis met with the phlebotomist, who congenially sucked out multiple vials of the liquid. (Funny how perky people can be on the other end of the needle.) When the draw concluded, we left…and the wait began.
It’s an ironic predicament expecting that telephone to ring - the apprehension and the hope - knowing the results will determine which diverging road we will be going down. It’s a little like walking on a high wire – simply taking a breath could disrupt equilibrium and send one tumbling into free fall.
That night Dr. Jones finally called to say the lab results showed Dennis’ numbers to be totally normal – especially his tumor markers. Normal. All he could say was, “Unbelievable!” Neither of us could move. We stood like cement casts…our brains sending messages to bodily appendages with no response.
Friday Dr. Mulvihill ratified those results with an enthusiastic examination of Dennis’ central domain. And after a thorough review of all the digits, he issued him a clean bill of health. Furthermore, he said that at this juncture, statistically speaking, it is more likely the cancer will NOT recur, than that it will. “51-49.” The cup is more than half full, and since it is our policy to round up, our cup runneth over. We’ve been given half a chance. Good Friday came a week early this year.
Now, we know we’re not out of the woods yet, but…
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But we have promises to keep,
And miles to go before we sleep…”
Our car drove home like a hovercraft. I don’t recall the wheels touching the road. And that night we slept more peacefully than we have of late.
We are buoyant. There’s such a sense of renewal.
We will celebrate Easter…all year…and live the life we have fought so hard for.
Nuri Al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, said, “The beautiful days in life come after fatigue and difficulties. The difficult labor produces a more beloved result.” Amen.