The week or two leading up to the scan is always fraught. Music makes me weepy, even happy songs, but silence means my internal monologue of what-ifs and entreaties to God are all the louder.

Please please please please please. Don’t let the MRI show that the tumor in my brain is growing again. That the cancer is still there.

God knows, we’ve done enough to get rid of it. Cutting it out during three surgeries, then nuking it with radiation daily for eight weeks. You’d think it would cry uncle and give up after all that, but the little bastard is tenacious. These types of little cancerous bastards tend to be, so every few months, I lay in a tube, eyes closed, and listen to the bangs and thumps of the MRI as it takes pictures of my brain. For some reason, closing my eyes makes it better.

For the longest time, I didn’t consider myself a person with cancer, even when I was sent to a cancer center for radiation. (Duh.) Once I even came close to telling a fellow patient I was chatting with that I didn’t have cancer, I just had a brain tumor. Denial, party of one.

But recently, and suddenly, I embraced it. Cancer? Shit, yeah. Got the T-shirt and everything. (Literally. I bought a T-shirt with the cancer center’s name on it. Not my swiftest purchase, as the thing is stuffed at the bottom of a drawer. But really, when do you wear something like that? Out for coffee? To Christmas dinner?)

So I watch the calendar and I wait. I try to keep positive, and I talk to God. (It’s not all me me me, I swear. I ask how he’s doing quite often.) And, like every time, I tell myself I won’t do this again. Let this tumor, this cancer, steal my peace. It’s stolen enough already.