Sunday, March 3, 2024

Annual checkup time

In 11 days I have to go for my annual checkup at the cancer treatment center. It's a visit I kinda dread and am kind of excited for at the same time. I dread it because I don't like being around the visual reminders that cancer is real and ugly and relentless. It's so hard to walk the halls of the treatment center and see the expressions on the faces of the men and women there. I can instantly tell those just beginning treatment. They look bewildered and lost while those who've become veteran cancer patients display expressions of boredom or frustration. 

The cancer center is set up like a bicycle wheel. The center of the wheel is the hub of the treatment facility where the administration team works. There are receptionists and administrative staff here. They greet guests, help with financial issues, give out directions, and do whatever they can to aid patients during their stay. The spokes of the wheel are specific medical services like radiation therapy, chemotherapy, imaging, holistic health services, the labs, etc. It's a well-organized building and patients learn their way around quickly. 

For the past few years, when I go for my checkups, I've felt out of place. I've even noticed other patients looking at me with that "what are you doing here?" look on their faces. On the outside, I look pretty healthy. I don't show outward evidence of ever being a cancer patient, but on the inside, they have no idea what I've been through. 

This week, I've had some concerns I know I'll need to bring up to the doc when I go for my appointment. I've been having terrible hip pain, deep in the joint of my right hip. It's been so bad I can hardly walk. I also found a large lump on the back of my neck. I don't want to think those are bad omens, but it's hard not to let my mind wander there. 

I'm sure, when I bring those things up at my appointment, the doctor will pay close attention. She will more than likely order some imaging tests. I'm due for a PET scan again, but if blood work looks good, they may not want to do one. I'm kind of hoping they do. I'd rather be on guard looking for potential problems than discover them too late and have to figure out what to do about them then. Being proactive just makes sense to me, cancer isn't something I want to gamble with. 

But I'm going to try my best not to dwell on the what ifs. You can't live in that land and hope to maintain your sanity. So, I guess I'll just keep on with my daily routine until my appointment comes and see what the doctor has to say. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I would appreciate your prayers. 

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