Wait, not Wail

My check-engine light came on recently. One of the things I love about being in remission, about being clear of disease, is watching myself freak out about something like the check-engine light coming on.

“Sh*&t! This Jetta. It’s time for a new car. When am I going to get the time to take it in to be checked? And the cost? It’s bad timing. Totally inconvenient. Can’t believe it.”

And then the laughing, the laughing that ensues when I find myself literally freaking out over the check-engine light.

So I arrive at Leigh’s yesterday morning. She offers to drive given that MY CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON. And it’s just as well. The Jetta is a might too small to hold Little J’s energy, let alone Lil’ Salty’s and his sister Snabby’s. Off we go to Muir Woods to watch the boys stomp, sing, splash, and chat up passers-by, basically add to the beauty of the park while we girls talk.

Then this morning, I’m dropping off Little J and heading to a first-grade classroom to do a little volunteering. My phone rings and it’s the coordinator of the maintenance trial I’m starting this week. Oh boy, excitement.

“We found something on your October 7th CT scan that the other radiologists wah, wah, wah.” Her voice becomes round and full of sounds that aren’t words.

“Come again? You found what?”

“You need to have  Pet Ct. We’re not sure you can start the trial…concern of new disease…wah, wah, wah.”

The next thing I know, the blood is drained out of my hands, but I’m somehow passing out flashcards to a small group of smiling six-year-olds.

“The long A sound, that’s right,” I hear someone say. It sounds like me. It is me.

“No, it’s wait, not wail,” I say to someone with ponytails and to myself.

“Miss Jennifer, help me find which word is wrong.”

On my way home, I call the nice lady back, the one who had passed on the news, and I ask her if we can have a do-over on our conversation. Yes, it appears I’d heard her correctly. Something one group of radiologists did not find, but another group did. I’ve heard of this happening before, and it turns out to be nothing. Nothing. I check for my gut reaction. Definitely, it’s nothing. I know it. We will have proof soon and the trial will be back on.

After Muir Woods yesterday, Little J and I got back in the Jetta to head back home from Leigh’s house and guess what? The check-engine light was off.



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  1. Jodi’s avatar

    Jenn ~ I checked my gut reaction, too (after I relaxed my eyeballs back down to normal size, and exhaling again) …. definitely, nothing!

    Good thoughts and prayers are on their way ….. as usual.

    P.S. I’m glad to hear that keeping your eyes closed during your MRI helped. And, I’m sure your lucky socks had a lot to do with it, too!

  2. Paulette’s avatar

    My 8 year old daughter had an MRI recently and it was brutal to watch how frightened it made her. She’s fine, though. Past being frightened, totally fine and still cancer free. As I know you will be as well. All my strongest thoughts your way.

    I love the way you write.

  3. Helena’s avatar

    Jennifer, my gut says you’re good to go, too. You know how I know? Because as I was reading your words I wasn’t panicking or freaking out either; instead I was marvelling at—absolutely stunned by—your writing. By the picture your words created, and by every. single. thing you said. So I ended up on a kind of literary high, you know that high, the one you get when you’ve just read something precious, and fine, and extraordinary. Thank you, my friend, for that.

    I am sending love (and many good wishes) over the sea!

  4. jenn’s avatar

    Thanks for your beautiful comments, ladies. I have a Pet Ct scan scheduled for tomorrow. I wish “pet” meant I could bring Virgil with me. Alas. All this will be cleared up the end of the week and we will have even more reason to celebrate the season. It’s a hiccup is all. Hugs, Jennifer


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