Waiting for the other shoe to drop – “Waiting for a related announcement or event to occur after an initial announcement or situation. When waiting for the other shoe to drop, one expects a pending situation to occur that is dependent upon an initial event.”
Living with cancer is living between shoes.
After my first chemo regimen—six rounds in four months—I had three clear scans. I got a cancer survivor certificate from my oncologist, a party from my family, and the obligatory T shirt.
But cancer is one badass disease that doesn’t like to be taunted. A few months later the lymphoma returned, which meant more serious chemo and a bone marrow transplant. Not something to put on your bucket list.
I’ve had one clear scan since then with a second scheduled for next month. My odds of remaining free of cancer symptoms—not cancer free—for the next five years are 50/50, which are 100% better than if I hadn’t had the transplant.
The specter of cancer casts a shadow but not a cloud for me. It puts life in perspective but not morbidly so. It helps me savor the mundane and be more present in the moment. It makes me more thankful for the gifts bestowed by everyday providence.
I vacillate between “Providence” and “providence,” not sure how much to ascribe to divine intervention. God is the author of all possibilities but as to specifics, if you give him credit for blessings, consistency requires he be held culpable for evil. These are two sides of the same coin; one that religious people don’t flip very often.
There are things in this world that don’t make moral sense, sickness and suffering among them. Every religion tries to explain death and the pains preceding it. Some do a more coherent job than others but all rely on a fair amount of interpretative speculation. We know less than we claim.
One thing we do know is that everyone dies. The other shoe always drops. It can be unexpectedly swift and loud as in an auto crash or excruciatingly slow and silent as with cancer. Each way has its pluses and minuses—not that we get to choose. Either way, gravity wins in the end.
But is it the end?
I think not.