Writers, and memoirists in particular, are suckers for confession. That is both my greatest strength and greatest weakness as a memoirist. Show me a blank piece of virtual paper on my laptop, and Bang! Zoom! Here I go man, I’m off to the races! But there is one big difference in this memoir. This is not about my twin flame relationship with my eternal wife Twinklebear.
This is all about me!
Waaaaaaa! I’m such a brat! Ha! Seriously speaking though, if what I’m about to reveal about myself (me! me! me!) helps readers who find themselves in similar circumstances as I’m about to divulge—more power to ya! When I was only 23 years old, one day my sister Dottie said to me….
“Hey Scott, what is that swelling on your neck?”
She pointed to an extremely subtle, almost imperceptible swelling on the right side of my neck. I wasn’t even aware of it, until she pointed it out. Even though it was a modest swelling, I could feel a difference between the way that side of my neck felt compared to the other side.
At the time, I was working as a custom print maker at a professional photo lab called Edstan Studios. Before Edstan Studios though, I worked as a medical photographer at the Pack Medical Foundation, whose specialty was cancer treatment. My boss, Dr. John Conley, was the most preeminent expert on head and neck cancers and surgeries for them, as it providentially turned out for me.
By this time, the Pack medical Foundation went bankrupt, so I went to see Doctor Conley at his private office. After my old boss examined me, he said, “Scott I’m going to admit you to the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center for a biopsy and possible surgery.” Man, was I scared!
I was admitted into the hospital and a needle biopsy was done. The news was not good. I had cancer of the thyroid and I needed surgery to remove it. Luckily for me, my old boss was the most recognized surgeon performing this type of complex radical neck dissection surgery.
Apparently, the cancer had invaded my neck muscle, so a “radical neck dissection” was required to removed the tumor and the muscle that it invaded. As you can imagine, at the tender age of 23 and expecting nothing like this to happen to me, I had all of these predictable “why me” thoughts….
“Oh God, why me? Why now? I’m so young, how could this be happening to me? Am I going to die?”
The good news is, I had the surgery decades ago, and did not die. The bad news is, the experience left me something of a hypchondriac. Although it made me fearful of health scares in general, it specifically made me scared of incidental (and benign) lumps and bumps, for obvious reasons.
I believe that there are two types of hypochondracs. The first is the classsical type as stereotyped in jokes. This would be the hypchondriac who runs to the doctor at every scare. I am in the second category of hypochondriac, who will never go to doctors because I fear what will be found.
Because I fall into the “fraidy-cat-about-seeing-doctors” category, there have been innumerable instances over the years, of my having found bumps and lumps on my person—when I would not seek a medical opinion about these bumps and lumps. As a result of my reluctance to seek immediate medical care for said bumps and lumps, each time I entered several days of mental hell.
This “special hell” usually consisted of many days of mental anguish, where I spent every minute of every day wondering if the offending bump or lump would go away. This irrational exercise involved an obsessive check of the bump or lump every few minutes, “to see if was different.” It was a wonder that I was able to function at work, with all of this worrying!
“This is your brain on stress!”
I often compared this special hell to self-flagellation, which is just as illogical. There were times during these multi-day periods of “controlled panic” when I tried to allow my common sense to temper my fear–but it was futile. I believe that anyone who has had cancer, can relate.
For all readers who find themselves in similar situations, pleased realize that we all have skin and muscle swelling due to irritation, allergy and trauma. This happens. But please know that I understand the special kind of panic you temporarily feel, because of your history that is similar to mine with respect to cancer—about these bumps and lumps.
I completely understand.
I love you, Twinklbear
Forever and a day
Twin flames, podmates always
Bear Pact Forever
12 12 12 in every way
SCOTT “SOOKYBEAR” WONG