If you’re being treated at a teaching hospital, time spent in the hilarious world of cancer can be measured in residents. I’m up to five. One for Dr. R, one for the oncologist I decided not to go with (primarily because I spent more time with the resident than with the doctor) and three for Dr. X, who has a steady stream of what appear to be brainy teenagers dressing up as doctors for Halloween.
There was the kind, pretty woman, who got me in my clueless stage last winter, and gently broke the fertility news. There was the earnest, geeky kid who hovered around all during radiation treatment, my freaked-out period, and did his best to answer all my technical questions. Then there was the guy who had the misfortune to be in the office last Tuesday. I am rapidly recovering to my pissed-off, greatly inconvenienced stage, and am back to being annoyed by strangers feeling around my neck and chest, especially ones who not only think they know more about this cancer thing than I do, but also look like jailbait.
I was back in The Basement for my post-radiation follow-up appointment. Since our rendezvous in hell, I’ve been soaking up the salubrious October weather of the Jersey Shore and Dr. X has been vacationing in China. Mini-Me’s poking around made me cranky, but it’s hard to stay in a bad mood once Dr. X walks in. I’ve come to like him, in a Stockholm syndrome sort of way.
Also, all the waiting around affords plenty of time to take in all the people who have it worse than I do—the man on the phone with half his face deformed, the guy who must have some type of throat cancer and is using an electronic device to amplify his voice—i.e., pretty much everybody. My complaint about feeling like there’s a heavy weight on my chest, making it hard to take deep breaths, seems suddenly insignificant. Dr. X says scarring of the lungs is normal. He tells me to keep doing yoga and sends me off for a chest X-ray. I try to complain about the joint stiffness that makes it hard to move my fingers in the morning, but Dr. X is not taking responsibility for that. That’s apparently a chemo gift, a topic for my next date with Dr. R.
It’s still too early for the first full, post-treatment scan and blood tests. That will happen in November. For now, my problems are boring, which is a good sign.
I’m getting a little bored of the blog, too. I do feel the need to wrap things up, but this is proving tricky. I keep thinking I’ll write a final post after the next appointment, but there’s always a next one, and a next one. I thought I was almost done with Dr. X, but he wouldn’t let me leave until I committed to a December date. The ending is elusive.