Last month it was time once again for my six-month oncology checkup with oncologist number four. Due to various circumstances, I’ve had five different oncologists. I’m now back with number 4. Number four is a keeper. I’ll have to write about why this is true sometime.
I go about my business day in and day out thinking about cancer, but at the same time sort of separating myself from the beast if this makes any sense. This is a sanity-saving subconscious mind skill of some kind I’ve learned I suppose.
I think about cancer every single day. For many reasons, I doubt there will ever be a day from here on out that I do not think about cancer. I write about cancer. I blog and follow blogs about cancer. I read books and articles about cancer. I live with a fair amount of cancer treatment collateral damage. Then there are the scars; the ones that can be seen and the ones that cannot. Like most cancer patients, I think about recurrence, but I certainly don’t dwell on the possibility. Directly or indirectly, cancer’s on my mind, a lot. But sometimes it’s not.
As I’m going about my life, I do forget about cancer sometimes; but then, of course, it hits me. I remember and think, OMG, it’s true. I was diagnosed with cancer.
It’s almost like whenever I “forget”, cancer likes to give me a jab as if to say, don’t get too comfortable. I’m still hovering and you’re still a marked woman.
Six-month oncology check-ups are reality checks and then some.
The moment you walk through any cancer center’s doors as a present or past cancer patient, reality hits, not unlike a slap to the face. You’re forced to admit to yourself all over that you’re one of ‘those people’ – a cancer patient. Many cancer centers even have separate cancer patient entrances (which I appreciate by the way), so it’s like you’re in a whole different classification of patients. You are separated, quite literally, from the “others”.
Walking through those cancer doors was a sobering realization that first day dear hubby and I walked through them. It still is.
When you’re on the “outside” you can sometimes convince yourself that things are sort of back to normal. You might even begin to believe you’ve adjusted reasonably well. You’ve adapted. You’ve handled cancer. You’ve managed to keep it all together somehow. Sure, you’re worn down more than a bit, but you’re still standing.
And then there you are walking through those doors again, or experiencing whatever trigger it might be for you at that particular moment in time and boom, you’re back to that place you were on “that day” it all started. And you remember.
You were/are a cancer patient.
What is one of your reality checks?
Do you think about cancer every day?
If you’re metastatic, how do you manage the constant reality checks?