We make plans. We make plans. We make plans.
So in control of our future.
We make plans. Therefore, we are. We make plans. Therefore, we will be.
And then, something happens. And all those plans, all those to-do lists and decision trees and carefully calibrated calculations which are designed to regain control over your life … they don’t mean anything.
We were in Belize scouting locations for our new home. We were on a mission. This was our future and we were taking control of it. Time and money would be ours to command, ours to harness to serve us.
Then, in the artfully crafted paradise called Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn in Placencia, Rose discovered a lump on her right breast.
It wasn’t an ambiguous lump. It was assertive, tender to the touch and unmistakably, a lump. And it projected all that a lump on the side of a breast portends.
“Do you want to go see a doctor right away?” I asked.
“No,” said Rose. “Let’s wait until we get home.”
The lump arrived about the same time that we got word of the death of a dear friend, Tracy Barton Hostetter, who had waged a years’ long battle with cancer, winning over and over only to have it reappear in another form, in another place. You couldn’t help but link the two events.
I think for both of us that lump added a layer of surrealism upon a layer of harsh realism to our adventure. It was an uninvited rider piggybacking on our future. An uncertain menace? Or, perhaps, just a benign distraction? We had no way of knowing. But there it was, mocking us and our plans to take control of our future.
It just didn’t make sense. Rose is ridiculously healthy — a yoga and Pilates instructor who makes healthy meals and consumes blended drinks filled with kale and carrots and fruit and soy protein powder. People like Rose don’t get sick, much less cancer.
Last year I went through a similar event – I don’t know what else to call it. An event. An enlarged prostate which no doctor would operate on because I had no health insurance. And no health insurance company would cover me because I had an enlarged prostate.
I finally had an operation in April. Six months later. (If you want a defense of Obamacare, talk to me.) No tumor. No cancer. Just a life suspended for a while. A life not in my control.
And suddenly it was Rose grappling with the implications of a lump on her breast.
Certainly, if it were cancer, there would be no move to Belize. At least, not as planned. Not by February.
On Wednesday we went to the Kaiser Hospital Breast Clinic. A couple of hours, several doctors and several tests later, the doctors concluded that it wasn’t cancer.
Rose and I went out to lunch and, after a sigh of relief, resumed making plans for our move in February to Belize. We were back in control of our future.
Then, this afternoon Rose got an e-mail from one of the doctors who acknowledged the “abnormality” on the breast and recommended that a breast surgeon examine it for a possible biopsy. Just to be sure.
So there we are. Still making plans but with one ear cocked for the call from the surgeon.
We have to move ahead, like everything will be OK, because we believe it will. One more doctor’s exam “just to be sure,” is a small price to pay for complete peace of mind. Isn’t it?