Is it Safe?


One of the most memorable scenes in movie history for me is Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman in The Marathon Man.

 Is it safe?

I always felt safe and untouchable until my cancer diagnosis. The funny thing about breast cancer is that there’s no pain associated with it. It’s just a lump on the breast, and then everything that you understood as safe in the world collapses from under you. You learn that the lump can grow. Even if they take the lump out, stray cells can remain and still attack you. If you have positive lymph nodes, you have proof that, yes, there are stray cancer cells, hanging out, waiting for the right invitation to travel around your body. Only what the invitation actually is is a secret. The only way you’ll ever know is to play guessing games for the rest of your life.

Five years after my treatments, my oncologist said to me, “Congratulations on making the five year milestone, you’re cured!”

“Are the stray cells gone?” I asked.

“We hope so,” was the reply.

“Then in what way am I cured?”

“Well, by the book definition, surviving for 5 years after your cancer treatments is defined as ‘cured’.”

“Does that mean there’s no chance in the world my cancer will come back now? Am I safe from it?”

“You’ll need to take care of yourself. Come back once a year for checkups and we’ll monitor your status.”

“What does taking care of myself mean?”

“Eat well, exercise, and enjoy your life.”

“And…The cancer will never come back?”

“No, it could come back.”

“So I’m not safe?”

“I didn’t say that.”

Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!
Silver Screen

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Is it Safe?

5 thoughts on “Is it Safe?

  1. Dhammic Writer says:

    I had my own cancer scare last year, luckily they were able to get it all out before it spread. However, it certainly gives you a much greater appreciation of your own mortality.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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