On Saturday my friend Dan told me he had a big surprise for me. He provided no hints and loaded me into his car at 11:00 AM. I was sure the surprise was food related, which is why I obliged without hesitation. But I started to grow worried after a few minutes in the car and I was informed that I wasn't being taken to a giant mountain of ice-cream. I was reminded once again what a mistake is to imagine a mountain of ice-cream when someone tells me a surprise is waiting for me somewhere. Because unless the surprise actually is a mountain of ice-cream, which has yet to be the case, I will necessarily be disappointed.

Then I noticed we were driving in the direction of the Bod Pod building and general growing worry dramatically evolved into all out panic as I started pulling at the moving car's door handle and pounding on the window while crying and saying things like, "pleasedon'tmakemethey'lltellmeIgotfatterIdon'twanttoIdidn'tdoanythingwrong!"

Relief came over me when we passed the Bod Pod building and I realized I wasn't going to have to relive that wretched experience again. Disaster averted. Back to thinking about a mountain of ice-cream.

Until we pulled up the the Huntsman Cancer Center and walked through the front doors to be greeted by "Cancer Screening Day." I tried to turn and run but it was too late and the next thing I knew we were up in the waiting area preparing to have our personal space issues put to the test.

Cancer is like a right of passage in my family. We don't have a family business, so having some form of cancer is sort of our equivalent. I suspect that Bob and Cathie will be a little disappointed in me if I don't have cancer at some point in my life.

But that didn't stop Bob, a skin cancer survivor, from lathering each of us with government issued sun-screen each time we attempted to go out and get the mail since 1990. It is for this reason that my skin actually glowed florescent white until at least 2009.

I guess he has good reason for the concern. My genealogy chart tells the story. All of the people from every country with pale skin mated at one point and eventually we came about. Now I get burned walking through a well lit room. Every day I go without getting skin cancer, I should be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. And an automatic spot on The Amazing Race.

While sitting in the waiting room, I nervously asked a thousand questions to noone in particular about what might take place behind closed doors, while also silently making fun of the 20-something-year-old guy who made it a point to snobbishly request to be seen by a male doctor. He, however, had no problem with his wife, whom he bossed around in the waiting area, being seen by a man, and surely will force her to see a male gynecologist after he impregnates her with each of his 17 future children. Or he's perfectly nice and a little shy. But I choose waiting rooms at hospitals and oil change places as the exception to my "assume the best about strangers" rule. So chauvinistic jerk it is.

I then started wondering about my underwear decision of the day, shooting daggers at Daniel for not at least giving me a heads up that I would be seen by who-knows-who in my skimpies, or less. If I'm going to be seen in my underwear, I would at least like to know about it so I can pull out my sexiest pair. For heaven's sake.

And then my name was called. I put on my brave face and wandered into the room. Homegirl instructed me to "strip down completely and put on that gown" to which I inquired, "ok, so take off everything?"

I asked, because the last thing I want to experience again (yes, again) is taking off all of my clothes in preparation for something, only to find that I wasn't supposed to be naked after all. Last time I'll ever set foot in that dentist office again.

She then informed me, like I was an idiot for asking, "well leave your underwear on, obviously."

I'm sorry, homegirl. I must have missed the day in 7th grade where we learned that "completely" means "almost all the way." It was probably the same day they taught us about sex, something that is still "completely" a mystery to me, since I also just stared at the ground, thought about the Power Rangers, and repeatedly said "I know" with attitude when Bob tried to have the talk with me that same year. Truth: I didn'tknow. And still don't. Gosh I'm confused.

I waited in that room for several minutes, now in my open-in-the-back gown and un-sexy underwear, reflecting in my final moments of not knowing whether I had cancer. Admittedly, the dramatic side of me took hold and I immediately thought of every single word I would use in the blog post to you about my coming to terms with my cancer. I then imagined all of your comments telling me how brave I am and to hang in there. Followed by pictures down the road of me sick and undergoing treatment. Then my friends and family would do the cancer walk under my name. Balloons. Get-well cards. The occasional PBS interview about being a young 20-something with cancer. Recovery. And eventually a book. Just throwing out some ideas here.

Just then Dr. I-don't-laugh-at-your-jokes rolled in and started undressing me with his eyes. (I was told later this was normal). He glanced at my sheet and then gave me a clean bill of health. NO cancer. Eli McCann lives to see another day.

On the way home we stopped and got a mountain of ice-cream.

~It Just Gets Stranger