Friday, I had an opportunity to hear a Nobel Laureate speak. I was super excited in my usual Lisa Simpson nerd girl kind of way, but I got held up and by the time I made it to the auditorium there was no room in the inn. They sent me over to the video conference room where I was able to snag a seat. This information will be important later, I swear. Any way...Nobel Laureate. We had to sit through three introductions before he got up to speak. One introduction was from the Governor of Kansas. I don't remember his words because by the third time he'd said the word "cancer", I'd started to hear this roaring sound in my ears. I must have physically looked not quite right because my friend Jeff looked at me and mouthed an "are you alright?" at me. I'm pretty sure I said that I was fine (that's what I say), but as the Nobel Laureate started speaking and it became obvious that this was not going to be a scientific presentation, but a "people with cancer, living with cancer, treating people with cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer" talk, I realized that I was not fine (longest sentence ever). As he was speaking I felt myself holding my breath. If you could have looked inside me, you would have seen a miniature of me trapped in one of those glass terrarium jars clawing desperately at the glass to get out. And so that's what I did. I calmly stood and discretely exited the room. If I had been in the auditorium, I would not have been able to do that and I would have had to sit there and suffocate. Being in the video conference room made it easier to slip out unnoticed so no one could see the tears welling up. As grief attacks go, this one started out to be not too bad. I had myself together by the time I made it up the four flights of stairs to my desk. But then someone asked about the speaker and I opened my mouth to reply and all that came out was a curse bubble. I turned on my heal and headed straight to my usual ladies room stall. Once I got to my safe zone, I allowed the racking sobs to take over, then I cleaned myself and went home. That's how a grief attack works.
Chris started to not feel so great right around this time last year. I knew that as these "anniversaries" came around that I'd have some flash back issues. Of course now I'm thinking about what if we'd gotten his diagnosis as soon as he started to feel bad. When people ask me how Chris died, I hardly ever say "cancer", because he didn't have the cancer that we are all used to people getting. He didn't have that kind that you fight off and on for years, that kind that sucks, but still lets you live a half way decent life. He had the kind that kills you dead fast. He had the Raid of cancer. What if we'd known Chris had cancer this time last year? Would he still be dead by February? What if? What if? What if?
The whole process has caused a bit of trauma and even though I've healed up well for the most part, sometimes something will trigger an ache. Like the weather and arthritis. In this case the weather is someone droning on and on about cancer victims and survival rates.