Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So Here I Sit

At the oncologist's office.

Lucky I only have to this once a year now, but still, I dread it.

It used to be I agonized over whether or not I'd get a call from a "0000" number asking me politely to "call them back." I've been lucky. In the seven years I've been coming here that's never happened.

Whenever I'd get the postcard in the mail with the boxes checked "normal" I'd do varying celebrations. High-fives. Nice dinners. Silent thank-yous to any god who might be listening. (I mean really, there's no way they're going to send you a postcard telling you have cancer again, right?)

But now the torture is the waiting room. I typically wait upwards of two hours to see my doctor. I know this going in, so I bring my computer, magazines and snacks. But still.

This morning she is stuck in surgery. It's now 11. My appointment was at 9:30. I would leave but I know if I do my mom will flip, and I don't really need that hassle.

My mom, even seven years after I was first diagnosed, still asks me during every phone conversation, "When do you see Dr. Bowling again?" Once a year, I keep telling her. But she wants dates, times and addresses, and I never have those details at hand.

My mom turned 67 on Monday. She told me all she wanted for her birthday was for my test to come back ok. (But I sent her a Michael Jackson CD anyway. I bet she's stoked!)

Upstairs from where I sit is the chemo infusion floor. I spent many hours in there. They once stuck me 9 times trying to get an IV in before they finally decided to do it under fluoroscopy. I cursed and cried and encouraged, hoping someone could get the damn thing in. Afterwards I demanded a plaque or recognition of some kind.

"Gina was here and got stuck 9 times - Top that!" I wanted it to say. Bastards never did get me that plaque. I was very "heroin chic" back then, only minus the chic - gaunt, covered in needle holes and wearing sweatpants.

Craig, who was a fantastic artist (though I imagine he still is) spent one day-long infusion sitting next to me drawing a picture of wildflowers. It was lovely. One of the nurses hung it on the wall of the little room we were in. I should clomp up there and see if it's still hanging. Probably not though.

According to my "vitals" I've lost seven pounds since I was last here in February 2008. (Don't tell my mom I waited over a year to come back, she'll nag me to death.) It's certainly not because I've been working out. I can only assume I'm hemorrhaging muscle mass. Great.

So it's almost noon. I've been here for two-and-a-half hours already.

I've written some work emails, updated my monthly progress report, written a blog post, snacked on some grapes, smiled politely at the woman next to me who told me to read Fox News' Website about the health care proposal.

Just once a year for this now. I am lucky. Very, very lucky.


glass said...

Fingers crossed for an excellent checkup!

Yvette said...

You are always in my well-wishes, even at the non-appointment times of the year. You're right. You are lucky. But the rest of us are lucky too ... for Dr. Bowling's care of you and your mom's nagging. Let us know when you get that postcard so we can all celebrate for you.

Adam said...

You are in my prayers that you won't have to wait so long next time, and I look forward to helping you celebrate the good news with high fives and a good dinner after a day at the pool.