Sitting in the waiting room at Vanderbilt, the "belly of the beast" as I think of it. Just a routine (hopefully) three month check up for me. But even being here makes me nauseous. Looking at all the people waiting to see their doctors and get their labs checked brings back so many memories. Some have physical components like feeling sick or my hands sweating. It's just awful.
Monday is the worst day here when everyone comes to see their doctors and start their chemo which they call "infusions" like that makes it better? I'm glad I'm not here on a Monday & I make it a point never to schedule Monday appointments. Thursday is a slow day & there is still a line to check in.
At Vanderbilt the chemo room, or "Infusion suite" as it's called, is on the second floor. So is the cafeteria which has a panda express. Still can't eat that food or go on the second floor here. I can't avoid the main clinic for check ups tho. Without fail every time I come here I see fear on every face. It takes different forms, sometimes tears, sometimes sleep, sometimes blank stares. It's all fear though. The providers do their best, they really do but it feels like they are fighting an unending & worse, unwinable battle. Why?
I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. Yes sure cancer has left marks on me - physical ones like scars, weight gain & swelling but the ones that really matter are the emotional and mental ones. You can't see them & most of the time I try not to feel or acknowledge them. But they are undeniable. There is pride that I survived. Fear that it will come back. Anger that I lost a year of my life to this shit. Sadness that I am unable to recover my fitness level. Joy that I learned so much during the journey. Compassion for everyone else touched by this. I could go on all day with this list but that flies in the face of my suppression strategy.
In an hour I will see the doctor and know what the latest status is for me. In two hours I will be back at work like nothing happened. It's all kinds of jacked up, but it is my life.