Before . . .
No matter how far out from my cancer, or how often I see my oncologist, my nerves begin to flutter. I’m sitting here at the doctor’s office watching numerous cancer survivors and current patients in treatments walk by. I must not be the only one who feels nervous today. It’s not very often I see a smile or hear laughter across the waiting room.
Today is a beautiful, early-spring day in the Pacific Northwest. There is not a cloud in the sky. The birds are chirping. The trees are starting to bud and bloom. This is a very odd occurrence in early March. I would much rather be outside on this beautiful day than waiting here for my bi-annual oncology appointment.
My arm has already been pricked with a needle to draw blood for testing whatever they look for. I now need to wait for an hour (more or less) until my bloodwork comes back and I can be called into the exam room. This hour allows me time to think, to contemplate what I have been through, and to dream of a future where I don’t have to come back. Then my mind starts to wander. What if my blood counts start to rise? What if I’m not as healthy as I thought I was? What if . . . What if . . . What if . . . I rarely let myself go that far, but on my oncology appointment days, I tend to work myself up more than I should. My blood pressure increases. My heart pounds. My legs and hands start to fidget. It’s a never ending cycle that continues every six months.
After . . .
The wave of relief hits me as I’m saying good-bye to my oncologist. This appointment was pretty basic. We looked at my bloodwork results, examined the areas needing to be checked, and asked if there were any concerns. Today was definitely nothing spectacular or drastic. However, at this appointment we realized I am almost half way through with my Tamoxifen. Knowing I am headed up that hill ready to step at the top and head right back down was a pretty good feeling. That half way mark shows that the end is nearing. Granted, it’s still two and a half years away, but that’s much closer then when it was five years.
After all is said and done, I know I stress myself out over my appointments. Surprises like to show up in my family, and I would really appreciate it if that surprise doesn’t show up again. Well, happy surprises are good; I’ll take those!
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