My drive to work in the morning usually takes me onto Loop 1604. The Loop used to go completely around San Antonio, but the seventh largest city in the United States outgrew that boundary long ago. There's the usual rush hour traffic at the early hour, but the Loop is also the fastest way for me to get from dropping my son off at school to my job site, no matter which campus it might be that day. There's a barrier of grass in between the lanes heading north and south, and if you exit the Loop, you travel for a bit along what is called an access road until you reach the road you need. This keeps the traffic flowing smoothly, as the cars on the Loop can continue to travel as fast as they can while the cars on the access road can travel slower.
It was the end August of 2014, and I was heading to the elementary school closest to Rolling Oaks Mall, off of Nacogdoches Road(the "g" is silent, because we Texans in Bexar County like to throw random vowels and consonants into words) road. I exited onto the access road, the Loop downhill from me now, my mind on a million different things that I had to do that day. I can't be the only person who does that while driving; that autopilot that the brain seems to turn on when you travel the same route just about every day. I know that you're not supposed to do that, but it just happens.
Except on this day, something made me look out my driver's side window. There was a tire coming my way. No car attached. Just a single tire, bouncing up the hill from the Loop, heading right for me in my little car.
They don't really teach such things in driver's education. The average driver's ed instructor might discuss what to do if an actual entire car is bouncing along toward you, and your decision making might involve several options or choices, such as swerving to avoid said automobile or screaming and wetting your pants. But I do not remember my driver's ed instructor discussing what to do when just a tire is bouncing your way.
I actually used some math that day(normally against my religion), and quickly estimated the trajectory of the tire, if it continued to bounce along toward me. If my calculations were correct, and I'm sure they were not, the tire appeared to be heading for my door. Fast moving projectile striking the fiberglass door of an average sedan? I immediately decided that this would be bad, and worse, would make me late for work.
What to do?
Slow down, of course! I was so very happy that the light bulb in my brain was still working. I slowed down, the car behind me slowed down, and the random tire bounced...right...over...the...hood. I watched it bounce some more, until it finally bounced into the tall grass of a retired cow pasture and disappeared. I breathed a sigh of relief and continued to my elementary school, thankful to have dodged that particular projectile.
That tire, I thought later, was a metaphor, as I lay in a hospital bed following my mastectomy. The Wheel of Life rolls along, taking us where we need to be. Sometimes the Wheel rolls along a good stretch of highway, sometimes a bad road full of ruts and potholes. And sometimes that Wheel just skips that whole "rolling" thing and randomly bounces up a hill and tries to kill you. Was there a message in that for me to pay attention to? I don't know for sure, but I wonder.
The week after I was visited by that tire? I found the lump in my breast.
Five more chemo treatments to go, folks! I'm seeing the Big Finish Line up in front of me! Six months of chemotherapy are almost over! Yay me! I could not have gotten through this without your support, and I thank each and everyone who has cheered me on even when I was at my lowest. Thank you.