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Safeguarding My Future



Whether or not I'm certain about my attitude toward being a dual cancer threat (non-small cell lung and papillary thyroid, cancer), only my subconscious knows for sure. This was recently made clear to when I provided my supermarket shopping preferences to my wife, Dina, who for reasons she takes very seriously (my health) won't let me go into stores to buy anything. Ergo, my list. And I may add, there is much adieu about those preferences. It's like a negotiation. Though not exactly partisan, the debates rage on and I'm lucky if I see more than a handful of requests honored from my list. In effect, Dina is my gatekeeper (you'll note I didn't say jailor).

There are some requests which are rarely obstructed: health and fitness, fruits and vegetables, meat and potatoes and any other non-dessert/snack-type item. I'm not going to bore you readers by saying how long it's been since I've had a Hostess cupcake or an Entenmann's cake or a TastyKake anything; I wouldn't want you to feel sorry for me. In spite of this food censorship, I'm hardly wasting away. Though I've lost some weight, mostly due to my low iodine diet a few months back (as part of my thyroid cancer treatment), it was weight I could certainly afford to lose.

Now that I've lost it, Dina doesn't want me to gain it all back. Which I can understand and appreciate. Overweight often leads to any number of problems: hypertension, diabetes and even heart disease, to name a few possible complications. Still, I have my food requirements (OKAY, needs) and unless I get them, Kenny will become even more of a dull boy than he already is. So far, Dina is not budging. I wouldn't quite say she's the immovable object, but she definitely remains an obstacle to my caloric happiness.

And the 'caloric happiness' to which I refer are basically Kenny's four food groups: cake, cookies, candy, and ice cream, which also explains my presumptive epitaph: "He never met a carbohydrate he didn't eat." But when the conversation moves to other, less controversial items, the conversation is much less problematic and maybe even indicative of who I am, what I've become, and how I assess my future prospects (life expectancy).

When one receives a cancer diagnosis, your brain gets rewired (figuratively speaking) and your choices become sort of a window to your soul. Things you want/don't want become tells of what's being debated in your brain. Initially, after hearing your cancer diagnosis, it's unnatural almost to want what you used to want. It feels trivial. Your frame of reference and context, narrow and shorten. When the future you anticipated is snatched away, it's not only time which is taken. Hopes, dreams, and normalcy are snatched away as well. And sometimes, without even realizing it, a request is made which inadvertently illuminates the route to the light at the end of the tunnel.

That moment occurred for me during last week's supermarket list discussion. Aside from the usual stuff that likely would need to be re-ordered, I ordered something new, without it being considered in the context of cancer (basically an abbreviated timeline). I asked Dina to order me an eight-pack of soap bars, an amount of soap that would probably last a few months, at a minimum. A 'minimum' which you don't necessarily anticipate. Not that a cancer diagnosis automatically shortens your life, but generally speaking, it is bad for business, if you know what I mean? A business which, apparently, I'm now willing to invest in. Maybe time is on my side after all.


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