I move my hand in a large circular motion clutching the paper towel and watching the foam of the glass cleaner bubble up on the glass. As I clean the dinner table I begin to think about life as a circle; beginnings and endings intertwined. Sometimes it seems that the past, present and future are all one.
My mother called today and explained that she had to go back for a second mammogram and an ultrasound. She is pretty sure she saw a lump on the ultrasound. She has so much anxiety around cancer, she is upset. Her mother died of breast cancer when she was just twenty one and my brother and I have both had cancer. Clearly, her anxiety is well earned.
I am surprisingly calm when I talk to her. I was the same way when I got my diagnosis. I feel detached and clear about how things will move forward if the lump is malignant.
“I didn’t want to worry you,” she begins, “I know that this must be hard for you.”
“Well, you don’t know what it is yet,” I say, trying to stay in denial, “they would have to biopsy it to see if it cancerous.” I know I have had six biopsies over the course of many years. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and go down the path towards worry. It won’t help.
“If it is anything I am not sure that I want these people to treat me here,” she says, appearing to have thought this through already.
“You have to let them get a diagnosis first mom and then you can figure out where you want to be treated.” Our roles are reversed; I am calming my mother, providing guidance.
I think about my mother, her mother, me and my brother. If she does have cancer it would be a continuation of this circle of cancer. I begin to worry about my son and daughter, for they could be affected too.
Now the glass on table is sparkling and the circular motion of my hand has stopped. I leave behind a fresh, clean table ready for the next meal. I hope that this is a metaphor for my life. That the circle will stop and that all will be well for the future. All I can do is hope.