Monday, March 20, 2023

One more ultrasound

At my latest oncology appointment, my new oncologist, Dr. Sharma, seemed concerned about the walnut sized lump at my left clavicle. It had been there for months but had seemed to be larger than it was when I first mentioned it to previous oncologist. I was grateful this new doctor was being proactive in ordering a test so quickly. 

When I arrived at the cancer treatment center's imaging department, the room was packed. The only available chair was close to a wall mounted television set and very close to an automatic door. I knew the constant noise from the TV would interrupt my reading but wasn't prepared for the blast of cold air every time the door opened as someone entered. I waited about fifteen minutes and as soon as someone was called back, I got up to move and take their seat. I lucked up and got a seat in a warmer section of the room very close to the receptionist's desk. 

My appointment was scheduled for 9:45 a.m. When 10:30 rolled around and I still hadn't been called back, I wondered if I'd been forgotten. There were so many in the waiting room though and it seemed they were moving slowly so I patiently waited. 

To my left was an older black couple. One seat over from me sat the woman softly humming. As I read, I heard her soothing melody. It wasn't bothersome at all and I was thankful for her low, soft voice. It seemed to calm me as I waited for my test 

A nurse came and sat by the couple. She spoke to the husband about the wife's upcoming procedure. I did my best not to eavesdrop but the nurse wasn't whispering. I kept my eyes glued to my book and tried to read as they talked. I kept going over the same line again and again. The nurse was telling the man that after his wife's lung biopsy they'd have to keep her under surveillance for a couple of hours. He asked questions as to why and the nurse said sometimes, during a lung biopsy, air can get into a patient's lungs and this can be a dangerous situation. The man's voice wavered as he continued to talk with the nurse. A few minutes later,  the nurse was taking the woman with her to the procedure area. 

I sat for a few minutes and didn't say a word. As I did, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to tell the man I was going to pray for his wife. I waited a few more minutes for confirmation and the nudge didn't go away, so I leaned over and told the man I wasn't trying to get into their business but I couldn't help overhearing about his wife's biopsy. He looked at me intently and I said, "May I ask your wife's name? I'd like to pray for her." Immediately he said, "Her name is Lynn Morgan." I smiled and told him I would be praying for her and I spoke words of encouragement to him. He thanked me over and over again before leaving to go find a hotel room for the night as the nurse had suggested he do just in case the wife's biopsy was more complicated than they expected. 

After Mr. Morgan left, I began to pray for his wife asking God to be with her and give her strength, to guide the doctor's hands and to protect her from complications. As I prayed, a verses from Isaiah came to mind, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." (Isaiah 26:3-4) I know God brought those verses to mind for not only Mrs. Morgan, but also for me. 

It wasn't long before I was being called back. I lay on the exam table as the radiology tech warmed up the gel. After asking me to show her the exact location of the lump, she took the transducer and began going over and over my left clavicle. As she pressed the wand down on the lump, it hurt. I kept my eyes on the ceiling tiles instead of looking at the ultrasound machine as I did in 2014 when I was first diagnosed. The ceiling tiles in the room were illuminated with a beautiful spring scene. I remembered that view and smiled to myself. 

The ceiling scene I enjoyed

I found it interesting that I wasn't terrified like I was the first time I'd had a breast ultrasound done. Over the years, I've become desensitized to all the poking, prodding, and tests. Perhaps it's because I feel in my heart cancer is no longer a threat to me. Oh, I know it can be. I'm not being naive about the dangers and possibility of a recurrence, it just feels like my stint with cancer is over and has been for some time. 

It kind of feels moot to have to keep going to the oncologist for annual checkups but I'm glad I have a safety net in place just in case. 

On the way home, I continued to pray for Mrs. Morgan. I wish I knew if she was doing okay. 

Next month, I'll return to the oncologist for more blood work, to see the integrative wellness team. Thankfully all that will be after vacation and I can enjoy the sand and sea without thinking about anything cancer related.

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