It was the day I had been waiting for for two years. The culmination of hard work, endless amounts of reading, group projects that made even the most cooperative of group members want to wring the necks of others. It was my graduate school graduation, and for better or for worse, I remember none of it.
You would think that a teacher would remember the day when a university granted her the M.Ed that would open the doors for me into schools and my very own classroom.
But no, not a thing. I have pictures. They help. But the ceremony…listening to speeches, walking across the stage. Nada. Zip.
It is not that I did not care. It is not that I do not want to remember.
It is all because of pain killers and the elephant that is forever in my room.
You see, I had gone for a routine check up with my oncologist. Only two years in remission from my Hodgkin’s Disease, I was still under a pretty strict follow up schedule. And per his routine, he wanted a CT scan. Well, on this particular scan, two years post my bone marrow transplant, there were some little blips of light. I am not really a fan of those little blips. I would rather they not decide that my ct scan reports are the paper that their colors will illuminate. Apparently they never got the memo.
These little blips were so tiny…but yet, so present. And far be it from my doctor to play it any other way. He wanted a biopsy.
I remember when I left the office. Only a week or so before my graduation. I was angry. I was scared. I was alone. And so I went for a pedicure. And to show off my beautiful new feet I went shoe shopping at Nieman Marcus. Retail therapy in case you are wondering, is blissful. (Until you get the bill, or have to explain it to your parents who are supporting you because you are jobless in grad school).
Anyway, the biopsy itself was easy. Or easy for a radiologist using special stealth instruments to get the tiny tiny blips in my armpit. And considering the fact that it was a needle biopsy, without true surgical cutting, you would have thought that the pain would have been less. And maybe it was. Maybe I was just a wimp. But for whatever reason, I had been given pain killers afterwards knowing that the following day I would be walking across stage, into my future as an educator.
I imagine that my cohort members did a lot of herding that day. Leading me into the line, elbowing me when it was time to clap, gently pushing me into the direction of where I should be.
My family and friends were there. We probably even talked about very interesting things…about how excited I was, or how proud they were.
I though, was in a la-la land induced by pain killers….which was probably a good thing, because had I been coherent I would have probably been shedding tears. Tears of anger, tears of worry. Tears that were scared that my future was once again in jeopardy.
Luckily, the pain killers worked. (I think). And luckily the tiny blips were just toddler blips seeking un-needed attention.
And luckily, my future as an educator…. I have been able to take that journey year after year, student after student.