Dark thoughtsI just went for a mammogram--about which, the less said, the better. (Actually, it's just not that bad; it doesn't take too long, the technicians are generally very good at what they do, and, really, it's a pretty minor inconvenience for the potential benefits.)
I'm generally pretty un-neurotic in this one particular way: I don't, usually, harbor dire fears of getting cancer (or developing cancer, which seems to be much more apt in describing what actually happens when certain cells go haywire). But something about the lag time involved in getting these results--"If everything is fine, you'll get a letter in about 2 weeks. If there are any problems [with the images, with what the images show], we'll call you"--that creates a small but constant feeling of anxiety.
I'm generally sensible. I know that my husband's fate was one of cruel genetics--a congenital esophageal problem that they only now recognize as pre-cancerous--and, just maybe, an unkind universe. As such, it's not likely to be my fate. My relatives and recent ancestors are blessedly cancer-free. And yet. Something about this process triggers horrific visions of illness, death, and--most terrible of all--my daughter's repeated orphanhood. In the weird calculus of adoption, she's already had 4 parents, and lost 3 (or had 6 and lost 5, if we count the foster family in China with whom she lived for at least 3 months). That's a success rate of only 25%, or less. Now I know that there are more positive ways to look at her history: to see those biological parents and foster parents not as "lost," but as having given her a great gift; to focus on what my husband gave her, instead of what he can no longer give. But late at night, when the irrational fears take over, that's not the story I tell myself.
In the light of day, my daughter is a survivor. She's strong, adaptable, and demonstrably resilient. I've provided for her; the will is signed, the custodial arrangements made. And I am pretty sure we won't be needing any of them. But still.