Monday, May 23, 2005
Man walks into the doctor's office and says, "Doc, you gotta take a look at this lump on my lymph gland. The dentist thinks that it might be cancer, and wants to get your opinion."
The doctor feels the gland, asks the man to move his neck this way and that, swallow a few times and so on.
The doctor looks at the man and says, "I don't think you have anything to worry about. I'll have you come back on a few months and see if anything's different, but I don't think it's cancer."
Okay, so it's not funny, but it sounded good to me at the time. The doctor went on and told me that she couldn't rule cancer out, but didn't see the need to go into a needle biopsy for diagnostic lab work based on her exam (and I hope to never hear the words "needle biopsy" mentioned in the same sentence with the underside of my jaw again). If the lump gets bigger or starts to cause me pain, she wants me to come right back in, but otherwise, we just need to monitor it and see what happens.
The doctor was also very helpful about some of my upcoming dental surgery, and even expressed a second opinion on my ongoing sinus situation and offered me an alternative prescription to the Sudafed on which I've been living.
Afterwards, I went to the Zen Center to take refuge in the three treasures. We're having a week-long sesshin, which I am going to have to miss for the most part, but it was good to be there on a Monday night, especially this Monday night, and just be able to sit for a couple of hours, and not have to lead the sutra or deliver a dharma talk.
What's been especially impressive to me the last several days has been the support and openness I've received from several of the sangha. A friend in Athens wrote me a very nice email and shared a little of his wife's struggle with, and eventual overcoming of, cancer. And, on a few posts back, Linda of The Cave blog left a very frank and uncharacteristically candid comment about her struggles. The sangha and the blogosphere both were letting me know that I wasn't in this alone.
So, anyway, we never know what's going to happen next, although we all know that sooner or later, somehow or another, we're all going to die, but it looks like the theme for "Buddha Rhubarb Butter" is not going to be "My Cancer Year," although, damn, that would have made for some good blogging material. I guess it's back to the same old random dharma quotes, pointless personal anecdotes, eco-rants and on-going violations of the U.S. copyright laws.