Quote of the Day: “Let us live today.” J.C.F. von Schiller
Yesterday, I saw my oncologist. I have been going every three months since treatment ended. I get so nervous as the appointment approaches. I can’t forget my experience in February 2011 when I went for a call-back on my mammogram. I assumed they would just take a quick look, that all would be ok, and I would be on my way. Instead, I found myself alone, without family around, in the dark, in a room where a radiologist was trying to find a lump in my breast. I was so unprepared for what was going to occur within the next hour and no one did any explaining. Next thing I knew, I was in an office where a young girl kept asking my questions. The final question struck me especially curious. She asked: “Who’s your surgeon?” I responded, “Do I need a surgeon?” And then thought: “Who has a surgeon?” I find it pretty incredible that they didn’t ask me if I wanted a family member around when they were doing the ultra-sound. It really was so daunting to go through that all by myself, being asked to make decisions after hearing devastating news. I think what bothered me the most was that they treated me like I was just one more person walking through the door, and they had a checklist of items to get through. There really was no one who counseled with me that this might be frightening news to receive, no one who tried to comfort me in any way. One minute you’re fine, the next you have cancer. And I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before in my blog, but when someone, I don’t even know who it was but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a doctor, called to tell me that I did indeed have cancer, I was at Office Max. Yep, just roaming the aisles. My phone rang and they said, “Your test is positive, you have cancer.” I pictured someone at a desk, with a list of people’s names and phone numbers checking them off as they called to tell them the news, either positive or negative results, with about the same emotion.
So, I’m a little gun-shy when it comes to office visits. I’m extremely afraid of devastating news, it just came my way too many times in 2011 but I know that as time passes, that too will get easier. Anyway, my vist went well and hopefully all the blood tests will show good numbers and the best part, I don’t have to go back for 6 more months! When I walked out of the Cancer Center and out to my car, I felt like kicking up my heels and shouting for joy.
It’s funny, because you have to be so trusting as a patient. So, I was diagnosed with cancer but I never felt any cancer symptoms, never saw any dangerous cells with my own eyes but just had to rely on doctors and medical professionals. My information came from pieces of paper with my name on the top telling me what I had, in very scary language. I had to trust that what they saw in me was truly so devastating and life-threatening that if I didn’t do chemo and radiation along with 5 surgeries that my life truly would be over way sooner than I wanted, leaving me with slashes and scars and ubiquitous hot flashes! I think about that often because what other area in our lives do we believe someone so blindly? And yet, I would do it all over. Every single day, I express my gratitude for the care I received.
People are so nice to enquire how I’m feeling and I really want to tell them that the only reason I felt horrible last year was because of the treatment for the disease, not the disease itself, but I don’t say that anymore. I no longer feel the need to tell everyone everything. Believe it or not, I keep a lot of those thoughts to myself.
Picture of Bell’s Canyon on Tuesday Morn. Susie Beaudoin and I met there for therapy and exercise!