The Waiting Room has become, for me, as with any Cancer patient I’ve talked to, an eerie place….an ethereal realm where acquaintances and bonds are born, a place where uncertainty lurks in shadowy corners behind doors that open into a sort of afterlife…a life after Cancer, a new world where statistics and blood count levels have come to plague me once again. I go to clinic twice a week and have learned more about living from these people that sit nervously in chairs next to me, awaiting their futures too, than from any previous experience.
I keep seeing parents, with their little kids…kids with bald shiny heads battling their Cancers with smiles on their faces and toys in their hands…it’s when they’re smiling, that’s when I’m really brought to my knees by their strength. Children, they are the toughest fighters on earth, I’ve learned the most from them. Maybe they’re just more mentally tough because they don’t know any better, but when I look deep into those smiling eyes I realize they know something I don’t….
I’ve decided to share two waiting room stories, I picked them up as a fly on the wall…
A mother tells how her child had a small M&M sized bump behind his ear. She took him to the family’s primary care physician for a checkup. The Doctor said everything with the child was fine and that the mother should stop worrying, this was of course her first child and she was just being commonly over-protective. She took her son back home. Her husband returned from work and was upset at what he felt to be callous behavior on the doctor’s part…the family’s dog had just died from leukemia and he felt that the growth, along with the child’s discolored red gums was a sign. He called the doctor and the next day went with his wife to bring the child back in. Upon arriving at the doctor’s office the husband demanded bloodwork, which the doctor laughed at, he refused, how dare a patient demand something so ridiculous…the husband kept pushing and there was almost a physical confrontation, he was sure his son had leukemia. The doctor, just to prove a point, ordered bloodwork…later that day the results where in, the child did have an acute leukemia, now he is at City of Hope getting treatment along with countless others who’s stories are just as strange.
The man the mother was telling the above story to was a 20 something who listened intently and talked to the child about Star Wars toys, the child’s favorite was Darth Vader, he liked the bad guys best. The man turned to the mother after and told her his story…how he crashed his motorcycle badly and underwent a CTscan, which revealed he had lymphoma, he was completely floored, his foot still in a cast from the fall. I remember him saying “What a strange world it is”….I nodded silently to myself, pulling my small notebook from my pocket and scratching everything down with my fountain pen.
Thanks for reading everyone. I’m day +41, this week brings more tests including another CTscan and engraftment bloodwork, I’ve got my fingers crossed and will be back in the waiting room on Friday…
Love to all.