Thursday, December 22, 2022

Merry Christmas to me!

Today was my 6 month check up with the oncologist. I arrived about fifteen minutes early and took a seat in the waiting room. As I sat, waiting to be called back, the room slowly filled up with other patients. 

As I looked around the room, I noticed the various ages. The majority of people were my age or a little older and it made me sad to see so many with cancer. 

I could only see their eyes since everyone was having to wear masks. I looked at one or two people and they turned away. Though I was smiling at them beneath my mask, I wondered if they could tell. Did my eyes twinkle with friendliness? I hoped they did. 

Two elderly ladies sat next to me. When one turned toward me, I said, "Good Morning!" and instantly received a greeting back. Thank goodness there are some friendly people in the world. 

A few minutes later, I was called back. Instead of stopping at the scale first, they took me straight to the lab. I made small talk with the lab tech and watched as she pulled out a butterfly needle for my stick. She remembered I was a "hand only" stick due to the lymphedema in my arms. I was glad I didn't have to go through the whole spiel about why she couldn't use my arms like they usually do for blood draws. 

When she'd taken my blood, the nurse was waiting for me. Now it was time for the yucky part, weigh in. I stepped on the scale hoping I hadn't gained any weight and was pleasantly surprised to find out I'd lost 5 pounds! 

We sauntered down the hallway to the exam room, talking about our Christmas plans. Inside the room, Lolly (yes, that was her real name) took my vital signs. 

Dr. P came in a few minutes later and I couldn't help but smile. He was wearing an ugly Christmas sweater. I remarked on it and he said they were having a staff party today and he was hoping to win the contest. 

We chatted a few minutes and I voiced a few concerns as he pulled up my lab results that had already been posted. He said my tumor markers were great, which was a wonderful relief to me! 

When he performed his physical exam, he hovered over the place at my left clavicle. As he moved the tumor around, he said, "I'm almost positive it's a lipoma so don't worry." He reminded me we'd already done an ultrasound on it and and MRI and nothing of concern showed up. He didn't feel we needed to do any more testing and I was glad to hear that. 

I asked when he wanted me to see him again and he smiled a big smile and said, "How about 6 months from now?" I said it sounded good to me. 

As I left his office, I felt like I was walking on cloud 9. I was so elated at the news that my tumor markers were good. Why is it that we always tend to expect the worst? 

So now, I am breathing easier and feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. No one understands what it's like to play the constant "what if" game over and over again in your mind unless you've been through a bout with cancer. It's like being on a never ending roller coaster. Some days are up and some days are down and if you're lucky, you get a nice long stretch of level ground in between there.

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