Today was the day!
I slept well, surprisingly, despite another of Archie’s love bites. (I do need to find that cat whisperer’s number.) But then again, I’ve always been able to sleep through almost anything. This time, it was the looming appointment with the radiation oncologist. Somehow, this last stretch just seemed too much. I’ve had three different chemo regimes, an emergency hospital stay, two operations, a watermelon sized seroma in my breast, more doctors’ appointments than in the whole of my previous life and an extended corona virus lock down to top it all.
I’ve got used to all my doctors. They are totally amazing and I’ll be eternally grateful for everything they’ve done. My white coat syndrome, (I’ve mentioned it before) is all but gone due to the incredible care I’ve experienced for the past 11 months. But this morning, it popped into my head once more. I was nervous. Actually more than nervous. The long drive to Vincent Pallotti helped to calm my thoughts and I arrived in very good time for my appointment. There is never any delay, so I walked straight in to be sanitized and temperature checked. So far, so good. Then I waited and waited…and waited. Thirty minutes later I reminded the secretary of my existence. When I walked back to my chair, someone had plonked himself down in it. I was growing impatient and tetchy. To be really honest, I was just plain scared but it translated into this.
And finally the radiation oncologist came walking towards me. Oh my goodness. She looked so young! The knot in my stomach tightened as I followed her to her office. Was this a good idea? Shouldn’t I just forget all this and take my chances? A mask hid her smile but I could see it in her eyes. I listened carefully as she went through the drill of what to expect. Her kind voice lulled me into a more relaxed state and I settled back into the sofa. “Are there any questions?” She kept a gentle eye contact and I found myself opening up. Each question was answered thoroughly and with such immense patience that I found trust growing rapidly.
“I can’t wait to finally hear the words, ‘cancer free,'” I ventured. That was probably a while off still. I’d blurted it out without filtering my thoughts. Dr Dalmeyer shifted her mask so that I could see her face and said the words. Tears sprung up and I managed to keep them from spilling over. I didn’t have a response. “The radiation is an insurance policy for the future.”
The rest of the consultation went by in a blur. 80%… radiation will up that considerably…remission…the future… I floated out of the good doctor’s room and back to my car. Everything else seemed like a minor detail. I’d manage the scan. The radiation sessions would be a breeze. If I was really really lucky, it would all be behind me by my birthday. Yes, life has no guarantees. I cannot predict the future. There was still three to five weeks of treatment ahead. But I had heard the magic words and I am holding onto them with all my fingers.
Archie was at the gate when I pulled up. His head bump was an apology, I think. Benefit of the doubt anyway. What can I say. There is still a bottle of bubbly left. I know that there won’t be anymore for the rest of level three lock down. But tonight I’ll be raising a glass.
Please feel free to join me!