As I am getting ready for my chemotherapy appointment today I find myself singing and dancing again…. It is the first time in a week. Including today I have only 5 (of the 18) treatments left, the end is in sight, it should be getting easier, right?
But it hasn’t been. Perhaps it is because the end is in sight, new fears and anxieties start to weigh on the mind… When am I back to work? Did I use my “time off” wisely? The biggest fear that I try to bury that some complication will delay the end date? The natural “fall off” of friends popping by or inviting me out to find some kind of trouble and spending way too much time alone – something I intend to change now that I have become aware of it – I just realized the phone works both ways!
The Cancer Centre – that big scary place that I had to walk into after a diagnosis that immediately struck fear deep within – it has become a place to look forward to. Yep, for reals! They have such a very special staff, not to mention the other patients. It has quickly become a regular occurrence for me to go in for an appointment and while waiting end up in a conversation only to look up and find a very patient nurse waiting for me to finish connecting with another individual.
We are all just people there, yes, all getting cancer treatment but, to me it feels we are connecting at as individuals and not cancer patients. Yes, info about what type, drugs, treatment duration, etc. are all shared in an unbelievably open conversation between strangers, but it is a matter of fact, an experience shared without pity or the whale eye watching to protect and analyze how I am or, sometimes even more frustrating, how I can be “protected”. Because we are all cancer patients it is nothing special or attention deserving – it is just the respect of individuals together. I have met some of my newest favourite people in these last few months!
And so there is no wonder I have been ” accused” of too much jocularity behind the curtain when having blood work done or finding my face light into a a smile and my step quicken as I near the Cancer Centre doors.
For those of you reading this that may be steeling yourself to walk through those big scary doors the first time, let your fears be a little less in knowing that if you open yourself to the people and experience this just may become a haven to look forward to and enjoy in a way most unexpected.