Yesterday, I had my 6 monthly check-up with my oncologist. When it came time to leave for the appointment, my feet didn’t want to move. Here they are under my desk at work.
They didn’t want to move because, at work, there’s no cancer. There’s only busy and decisions and normal. Safety.
I eventually got them to take me out to the car, and push the pedals so I could drive to the Cancer Centre. The centre of all things cancer, the place where the worst news is delivered, then the awful, poisoning chemo is delivered, then the burning, burning, burning of radiation is delivered, then monthly, three monthly, six monthly, yearly the physical exams, the mammograms and the ultrasounds are done and more news, so far, so good, is delivered. My feet pushed those pedals, but in the car park, they didn’t want to get out of the car.
Eventually, my brain won the battle with my feet and they walked me in. I stood at the door, my back feeling the warm sun and my feet not wanting to cross that shadowy threshold.
I went up the stairs, I made my feet take them rather than the lift because when I was having chemo I would prove to myself that I was still ok, still hanging in there, still alive by walking up those stairs, every time. I then sat, and waited. Always with the waiting. One foot swung like a pendulum set to the time of my pounding heart while the other kept me in contact with the ground. Contact with the ground is always essential when dealing with cancer.
At last, my name and my feet have no choice but to move into the consulting room. The oncologist comments on my weight loss, but in a good way, and then it’s up to my hands to take over from my feet, as off comes my jacket, my top and my bra, and the physical begins. I actually stare at my feet as I lie on the hospital bed as the doctor’s hands feel across my scar, my collarbone, my neck, my armpits and my remaining breast. Slowly, carefully, silently. Then the ‘all good’, a pat on my arm and I breathe for the first time in minutes, and my feet are suddenly, extraordinarily eager to move. I am dressed and out of the office, my bill is paid (yes, I pay for this torture) and like Speedy Gonzalez on speed, my feet are racing me out the door, over the unwelcoming mat and back to the car.
I then have an hour to kill (in a totally non-cancer sort of way) before picking my boy up from school, so my feet take me to a cafe, where I sit myself down, take the load off my feet, and relax so much that I order a bowl of chips, not remembering that chips are one of The Reflux triggers. For a few seconds there, I forgot I got cancer, forgot the cancer drugs gave me reflux, forgot I wasn’t just a normal school mum wiling away a few minutes before the bell rings.
I ate a couple, and then my feet then walked me to the school gate – actually there may have almost been a skip involved.
I can’t imagine that the walk will ever be easy, we have a young family friend that has cancer and he vomits every time he visits the hospital for a check up no matter what he does to try to prevent it. I’m glad that the walk to the car may have included a skip and a wry little smile, it’s the small steps that count in the long run. I’m happy that the news was good.
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Thanks Nanette. I can so relate to the need to vomit, the fear is absolutely primal. It actually helped a bit that I was planning this post in my head and taking silly photos – twas a good distraction!
Poor little man! I understand that feeling, I used to start vomiting in the car on the way to chemo in anticipation.
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Such great news, and so well captured as usual!
I had the same Reluctant Feet problem last week for my own (first) 3 monthly post “remission” appointment (different devil; same hell). I do wonder if there’s a slight PTSD element to voluntarily returning to the scene of so much anxious waiting, poking, prodding and chemo spewing. I keep meaning to go visit the chemo nurses who took such great care of me but can’t bring myself to walk into the anti bac scented air of the chemo suite, shudder.
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Kate, congrats on your good result too! The waiting room for my dr is right outside the chemo room, but no way could I go in there.