I went to see my oncologist today.
Technically he's my "gynecologic oncologist."
Whatever he's called, I went to see him.
These are unexpected words. And I understand that, even with my constant descriptions on this blog, sometimes people feel out of the loop. There aren't enough words in the world to adequately explain to your friends that your life is changing, and you don't know everything, but you hope they'll support you. Okay, maybe there are enough words, it's just hard to find the right ones at the right time.
So I'll start at the beginning, for those of you who feel like you missed something. There will be fancy links so that you can go back and read those blogs, if you wish.
On February 21st I announced I was having surgery and asked for prayer. I went in for the surgery on February 26th and the next day began describing my experience, in three parts, which you can read here, here and here. A few days later I got the results of the surgery and they were not what I had hoped for. I began the process of life with "pre-cancer" which seems silly to say, but as my doctor would say, "It's nothing to sneeze at." I have a 5% chance of getting full-blown cancer, and am now working diligently to avoid that.
It's almost a month later. I finally had my post-op appointment last Friday, and I am healing up as expected. My doctor re-explained everything to me, which was irritating. I often feel like my doctors think that I'm stupid, or that I am uninformed. They behave as if "pre-cancer" means nothing to me, and clearly I don't do my own research.
I do my own research. I am a woman of words.
So I went to see my oncologist today. I had been dreading the appointment a little bit simply because I know that down the line he'll need to do more painful biopsies and, of course, he's a man. Last week I was discussing these anxieties with a friend, and she suggested that I think of something fun to do after the appointment, so I would have something to look forward to.
But when today finally came, I was so concerned with getting to the appointment on time and then getting to work on time afterwards that I forgot about the reward. I slept in longer than I should have because my bed was abnormally comfortable. As we sat in the car I suddenly realized, and then said aloud, "I really don't want to do this." Still, we made it to the appointment on time, and then I sat in the office waiting for twenty minutes after my nurse said, "We'll be right back."
My doctor looked like a taller, chubbier Ben Stein with giant Fezzik hands.
He also sounded like he had something stuck in his throat. His humorous appearance and voice perfectly counteracted his intimidating height, and I relaxed a little bit.
Overall, it was a fairly pleasant appointment. My nurse was incredibly sweet and funny--she genuinely laughed at my jokes! They did an exam, so quickly I didn't even know it happened until it was over. We talked about future appointments, and potential procedures, and the options I had for my "therapy" medications.
It wasn't until we were back in the car, trying to find our way out of the parking garage, that I realized how stressed I'd been and how much I needed some sort of relief. I wanted a reward, and so I jokingly said to my husband, "Can you get me coffee today?"
He obliged with the largest soy mocha he could find, of course.
But it reminded me that all of this is necessary. It's imperative. It might be awkward, and my doctors might treat me like I don't know anything, but it's an important part of the process. The hard work comes first, and the reward comes later. This is true right now, for this part of life, but it is also true for everything else... everything else I'll ever do is just the work I must finish before the great reward.
Yeah, I made that spiritual. Deal with it.
Next week, starting April 1st, I'll begin my therapy (in pill form, thank goodness.) It will supposedly make me extremely hungry, so I might be updating you all as my munchiness progresses.
As always, I am grateful for the support of those who read this blog.
Thank you for being part of my story.