post-cancer check-up; cancer anxiety; just keep walking

Just Keep Walking

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.

feet before

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.

feet in 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.

feet walking in

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.

feet waiting

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.

feet leaving

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.

happy feet

Happy feet.