He looked me in the face and said, “don’t panic, not yet. let me do the worrying and when there’s something for you to worry about, I’ll let you know.”
That’s what my oncologist said to me at my 6 month check up. See, I was deemed cancer free after my scan came back clear (post treatment) in February 2012 and ever since that great day, I still have to return to the Tom Baker Cancer Center every 6 months to make sure my status hasn’t changed. Usually my appointments are quick and uneventful, well unless you count that one time the janitor put his hands down my pants.
Wha? Didn’t I tell you that one? Let’s have a funny-story-break.
I’m in a room waiting for my (female) hematology oncologist to come in and instead the door opens and a tall, well coiffed, male comes into the room. He doesn’t introduce himself to me. I can’t see any visible identification. He reeks of cheap cologne. He starts talking about my medical history and asking me about my lifestyle and health habits. At this point I’ve concluded that he’s an intern or some kind of medical student or perhaps the janitor (no offence to janitors) because there’s no way a ‘real’ doctor would come to work wearing bedazzled jeans and pointed toe light grey leather boots. Not in Canada at least. So I go along with his questioning and give him all the answers that his medical books have told him I will say. Then he says…
“why don’t you hop on up to the table and undo your jeans for me”
ummm, so, when is Dr. Owen joining us?
“she isn’t” (now he’s offended) “I’m Dr. Owen right now. She had a baby and I’m here until she comes back”
AAAAAHHHHHH, I see, so you’re covering her mat leave! And you’re an actual doctor!
Hey, here’s a tip for all you doctors and nurses out there, when you walk into a room to see a patient for the FIRST time, introduce yourself and identify yourself BEFORE you ask to put your hands down someones pants. Kay, thanks!
So for today, I have very little to report. The intern (who DID introduce himself to me) found a lump in my neck and my radiology oncologist confirmed it himself. It could be nothing. It could be something. I’ll have a PET scan to find out. What I do know is that the type of cancer I had before has a 90% cure rate and the chances of reoccurrence are very remote, however I also know that IF there is a recurrence, it is more likely to happen in the first 5 years.
How do I feel? Scared. Angry. Really angry. But mostly, sad. Sad that I’m back here in this awful place again. Sad that I have to take my life filled with kids and family and friends and work and schedule in trips to the hospital for tests and oncologists and endless blood tests. Sad that I am again faced with the conflict of who to let in and who to keep out. Sad that I don’t want to be anyones “friend with cancer”. Sad that I have to hide this terror from my daughters and as they get older, it gets so much harder to do. Sad that my husband keeps asking me what he can do for me and I have no answers to give him because what I want to say is, make it stop.
Sad that I have to write this.
Sad that I am so torn about publishing this as much as I’m torn about picking up the phone to tell my closest friends, some of whom, I haven’t told yet.
I’m just sad.
So I guess this means we’re all on this ride together. I promise to keep you updated as I learn more until then, give thanks. Give thanks for your health. Give thanks for your family. Give thanks for the love and the life that you have because I know that I will be.
Love and light to you all.