As I get ready for tomorrow's MRI, I can’t help but think about why I shutter when they come since I am not afraid of dying or the results being bad. But on days like the one before, the one of and and when waiting for results, when I'm perfectly honest, I know I'd be relieved either way of the results and I really don't know which one of the two would be more relief.
In simple frankness, I despise MRI's. It's what told me I had cancer. It's where they took me too when I woke up on with a seizure on the side of the road. It's something that I'm legally required to talk to Kiana's mother every time I have one because of the custody decree. It's the last thing they do before we messed with new drugs or surgeries. But it is not the machine itself. In fact I fall asleep in there often. It's just like when you make associations with like a song or smell that it doesn’t take you forward but takes you back and with MRI’s all past memories there are at best stable and some very bad, I can’t really think of or remember any good MRI's so it's a traumatic flashback. However, with a smell or a song it’s momentary but with that magnetic resonance imaging it lasts a lot longer than a moment since I usually have to wait between 1-3 days for results. I’ve had my radio station in my car playing holiday music and the line that stuck out from Mr. Grinch was one I could easily sing or say to that machine, given a choice between the two of you I’d take a seasick crocodile!
I’ve long said that I’ve never once prayed to beat cancer, just to handle whatever comes with it right. I told a friend I run with, a political professor whose invited me to speak to his students about running and he said that he wished I hadn’t told him that because now he felt guilty about praying for me. But then again, I’m not superstitious but I am a little bit stitutious so me, the kid born 8/8/80 tries to schedule results as often as I can to arrive on the 8th just daring to dream my number won't betray me. When I told my professor that little bit of superstition, something I don’t usually acknowledge, he responded to my silly number wishing with a little faith of his own and said “Screw what you say, I'm praying for you.” We were chatting and while I did not type LOL it was one of the rare times I actually laughed out loud to a computer. Even MRI’s are better with a little bit of irreverent reverence.
I’ve kept some of the same things I do every time like running but I changed some things like actively spending time with some people who I’d usually avoid trying to keep running but stop running away. I did cheesy little things like this week is the most lumosity I’ve played in weeks if not months kind of like when you brush or floss your teeth extra when you’re going to see the dentist. If I work on the neuropsychological rehab there’s no way this tumor could have grown! I tried to find happy silly little moment’s like listening to Weird Al’s “Amish Paradise.” The things that people do to get me to stop singing sometimes…
Still, today reminds me why I’m exhausted with the health care system or with the disease or some days they are hard to distinguish. Last month I had to deal with two phone calls to approve this MRI, between the two of them almost an hour to get a procedure approved. This customer service was rep was very kind and polite and so was I though I might have been a little more firm… Afterwards, I went for a solid track workout. Then the next day I got a card that my insurance had been bought out or absorbed or what have you with a new insurance card that was effective December 1st but that nothing should change except that it wouldn’t be continuing after January 31st and I needed to reapply through the government health care website… Today I got a call from both the MRI place and my neuro oncologist office that now my MRI wasn’t approved and everything might have to be delayed… I was more firm just as polite and got transferred, without exception each person having no clue why they had gotten me and me restarting the process with the last person me literally calling my insurance company and my doctor’s office and trying to get them to talk to each other with me on the line. After over an hour, 6 calls with 5 different people, the appointment for tomorrow morning and Thursday still stood, was re-established.
It is moments like these, days like these why I understand why the Hulk goes away to not be angry, why he avoids it, why he avoids people in that state. But it is also during those moments that I understand why the clothes get ripped. It is those moments where I remember that I’m the kid who grew up in a rough neighborhood; who knows that while I’ve never started a fight but I’ve finished a few.
There are people who want to be held when they are in that state of mind, who want to put their head on the table and breathe and calm down. I recognize it it to some level and don't speed up. This evening is the slowest I've driven in months getting passed in many places and realizing I'm going below the speed limit and trying to speed up to it. But I also tried dealing with the aggressive emotions in a productive way and went to the track for 3.5 miles of speed intervals, at first trying to dissipate the anger but eventually just channeling it through running, through pounding on the ground, through music and pounding in my ears. By just coincidence of the iPod shuffle, I warmed up with a song about Being Good, how the lion belongs in the cage. Skipped songs once the work outs started, dealing with the emotions of it, thought about stopping at 2.5 and then Eminem's Till I Collapse Came on:
Music is like magic, there's a certain feeling you getWhen you real and you spit, and people are feeling your shit
This is your moment, and every single minute you spend
Tryna hold on to it because you may never get it again
So while you're in it, try to get as much shit as you can
And when your run is over, just admit when it's at its end
I pounded hard and it was the fastest pace I'd kept all night and I thought well maybe it's time to admit that my run is at it's end. But I had planned for one more 800 and if there's anything I do is keep my commitments so I went out and the song that came on was of all things the Lion King's "Just Can't Wait to Be King." The last race I won of the year was a 10k last month at a zoo and both then and now fate had been nice enough to intervene to play at the right time as volunteers at the last water stop were kind enough to cheer. Then it was when I made sure to not do hubris and keep running until the actual victory arrived:
Everywhere you look I'm
Standing in the spotlight!
Standing in the spotlight!
Let every creature go for broke and sing
Let's hear it in the herd and on the wing
Let's hear it in the herd and on the wing
Today though it was simply that no matter how well that second to last repeat had gone I was not yet done with the work so this creature went for broke to sing and heard it on the herd and on the wing. Turns our a song about how it's not yet time got me going further than admitting that my run is at it's end. Some of the anger will be with that machine tomorrow, some of the frustration but so will some of the good songs and the hope that it wasn't the immature lion that wins the day. I hope the win comes from the voice that says the finale, the arrival is at least not yet.