So I just had my three month check up this past week, and while I know that I should feel a moment of relief I can’t help but realize the moments of anxiety that I experience. See, in the days l leading up to it I was completely overwhelmed. I knew what was coming. The day that comes every three months in which I return to the place where I spent the majority of the past year. Every time I walk into the hospital now I have a flood of memories.
I step off the elevator on the 11th floor, and it never passes that almost every time I have to direct a pregnant woman and her partner to the windows, for the OB section. When I was pregnant with the girls, I turned towards the windows every week or two to get scanned. It’s where I saw their ultrasound images – elbows, knees, heartbeat. Once the expected parents go on their way, I turn around and head to oncology. I’ve always been bothered by the fact that they combine these two practices on the same floor.
I walk through the two set of double doors and make my way pass the infusion suite where I try my best not to look. Today, I know my heart can’t handle seeing any recognizable faces returning to receive chemo. The nurse practitioners are always quick to give me a smile and word of encouragement, but I know in their heart of hearts that they can never tell if a person is back for a check up or if the cancer has returned. These women are some of the strongest spirits I’ve ever encountered. They sit with those receiving chemo for 4-8 hrs each day, administering to over several dozen patients a day. Not easy.
I work my way back to the reception area, and wait my turn. Luckily my appointment is the first of the morning so there aren’t a lot of patients there. The nurse takes me to get vitals checked. These two nurses are hysterical. Their energy is priceless. With constant enthusiasm, they bring the patient in, take temperature, weight, and draw blood. In and out. These are the women at I joke with, gossip with. Then I’m taken to see my oncologist. We talk through everything. Feeling any pain? No, (but never did). Tired? Well, I work 50-60 hours a week and five year old twins, so what do you think? Hot flashes? No. Pains in your legs? No. Menstrual cycle? Skipped a month but not pregnant. Ok, that’s it!
I go to make my appointment for the next visit in three months and go about my day. I only will receive a call if something comes back abnormal in my blood. So I dive into my work, so that for the next five days I don’t find myself staring at my phone thinking that it will be bad news.
Like I’ve said before – sometimes the waiting is worse than having the cancer itself. But I don’t have cancer, and I’m a month away from being cancer free. So life in fact is good.