Warning: the following post is intensely personal. Read at your own risk of learning more about the author than you might be ready to know…
Answering Service: Good Morning, Brain Tumor Central.
Me: Hi. Am I going to get a brain tumor?
AS: I’m sorry, what did you say? The line is full of static.
Me: Will I get a brain tumor?
AS: I can’t answer that question for you. Only God can. In His time. Should I transfer you?
Me: No. Not yet.
AS: Excuse me, mind if I ask why you’re asking me that?
Me: I was talking with one of my sisters on the phone the other day. She’s a nurse and we got to talking about how many people in our family have had brain tumors.
AS: Which family is this?
Me: My maiden name is Paine.
(sound of flipping through stacks of paper)
AS: Oh, right. Yes. We know of that family here. Paine is in bright red.
AS: Says here your sister was diagnosed with a malignant tumor, an astrocytoma twenty years ago. It also says she’s still alive.
AS: Also indicates your grandmother had one. And you recently found out your father had one too.
Me: After his stroke, yes. The MRI revealed it.
AS: That does seem like quite a few. And I guess there’s question about your aunt. Didn’t do tests like that back then, but her history suggests that it could have been possible. (Long exhale) How is it that I can help you today?
Me: I guess I was curious whether you could tell me if my name is on that list.
AS: No can do. Sounds like this is going to be your thing.
Me: What thing?
AS: We all have a thing. Most of us have many things.
Me: What are you talking about?
AS: A thing we need to hand over to God.
Me: How can I hand it over if it hasn’t happened yet—if I don’t even know if it’s going to happen?
AS: It’s possible. You’ll have to figure that one out.
Me: You can’t give me any clues.
AS: Nope. But you’re welcome to call us back at any time.
Me: I don’t think I’ll call back.
Me: Neh, I have a more important call to make.
Ever call someplace and then it hits you there’s a direct line with a better connection?
*photo by flickr
**fictitious account with real history and fear