You know, normally when you or you’re loved one gets a cancer diagnosis you can turn some of the activities that aren’t so fun into ones that are. Bingo is a perfect example. You have a bunch of procedures or diagnoses which are kept on a sheet in a random order and when you get one or do something like “group breast exam” you get to take your dorky looking magic marker for grownups and place with great gusto a splotch on your sheet. See? Something fun to do with cancer. Normally you can start small, say with “first mammogram” or “headache”. Over time you realize that something bigger is going on behind the scenes of the clinical presentations. So you go to the doctor and get “the news”. Then you can go from there. You are gradually brought into the game. You begin to see that some of your splotches are going to make something of themselves and you’ll eventually win that pack of glow in the dark earrings you’ve been secretly coveting since you were ten.
But with my mom, she didn’t even have time to mark “surgery part 1” or even “the initial worry”. All of a sudden we had a Cancer Bingo Card in front of us with no warning of any kind and a bunch of splotches already filled in. Kind of like when someone decides they have to go to the bathroom and hastily puts their card in front of you with a brief “Here! Play my card for this round!” before scampering away with everyone staring after them. Then you look down and you don’t see your bingo card, you see someone else’s. It’s not your cancer, it’s something that was just thrust upon you. You don’t even know if you care enough to really make sure that the card is won. It’s not yours, right?
Eventually you start hearing horrible noises coming from the bathroom and you realize that the person is probably not coming back to the game anytime soon. Eventually you look down and see a path to Bingo victory in the splotches of the card you never wanted to have. And eventually you start playing the game as if it were your own.