There is nothing like sitting in the waiting room of a large cancer centre to realise just how fortunate you are. To realise that the side effects that can take up so much of your attention are, in reality, far less than what some others have to put up with.
Yes it was my six monthly visit to one of my specialists - they are very accommodating and have staggered my appointments so I see one of them every three months, and they keep in touch with each other. The third, my urologist, I see every two months for a theatre visit but he plays tennis each week with one of the others and I don’t mind if they have a multidisciplinary team meeting over the tennis net.
My comrades in the waiting room were varied, mainly men and their partners, all with anxious faces. One wearing dark glasses with a cane, his wife holding on to him securely. Another creating a scene as apparently someone else had gone into see a specialist ahead of him - anyone who looked important was collared by him and told that the wrong person was in being seen it should have been him. A lot of time and effort went into placating him and eventually he was seen. The bogan sized flat screen TV was mercifully off, but apparently that is not allowed - we have to be inflicted with our hypnotic diet of daytime Channel Ten. Perhaps Channel Ten sponsors them? So various clerical workers attempted to get it to function and eventually someone was sent off to get instructions, finally they succeeded, but it did not stop the scene creation by time wronged elderly man. Most of the others tried to get somewhere else to look but a huge, bogan sized screen in a small waiting room is difficult to avoid, so eventually most lapsed in a hypnotic trance. Perhaps the staff prefer semi-hypnotised patients.
Finally my specialist came out to seek me, twenty minutes late, delay largely caused by scene creator, as normally they are very good with timing.
I have been seeing this person for nearly twelve years now and we have a good relationship. The nature of that relationship is somewhere between partnership and friendship. As well as the patient relationship, I have conducted research and published with them and we discovered that years back we had a common research mentor and had worked in some of the same establishments. So it is always a fairly casual session.
Checked on state of play in a number of areas of common interest, then back to those blood results. Yes it could be a blip. But they could be real and the timing was right if I am coming out of remission. What did I want to do about it? So I left with a referral for some scans, to use in three months time, if the next blood tests indicate it is not a blip. Affirmation of some of the other things I am doing and a suggestion that some weight loss and exercise might be a good thing. Some wise counsel on some other things. A satisfactory session between people with mutual respect built up over twelve years.
Truly I am very fortunate.
The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore Vincent Van Gogh
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.