Right before Christmas, my oncologist decided time had come to try a four months interval between check-ups (instead of every 6/8 weeks). I got really scared! What if.... Then time went by quicker than I thought.
Of course I spent the last two weeks going out of my mind... Funny how imaginative I can be!
Today was my last day of quite harrowing tests. (I still have my appointment with my oncologist, in ten days with the results of my blood test but that’s ok. We’ll end up talking about photography.)
Well anyway, the main tests are over. I’m quite bruised due to my poor exhausted veins but I’m alive and well!
My last chemo ended in August 2006 (on the 4th of August to be precise)... I can’t believe I’ve been cancer-free ever since.
43 months! Wow! Seems like a whole life... 90 years at least!
Last time, cancer came back less than a year after a very strong 8 months chemo. It also had increased considerably. (I like the word «increase»... «Metastases» is a word I hate to use.)
I no longer have to go through X-rays nor sonograms... I’m sent directly down to the «older children’s playground» (in the depths of the American Hospital...), i.e. the RMI and ET Scan Department...
Hence the bruises on my only «good» arm. The «older children’s playground» is not this fun after all but it has its good sides though. I know almost instantly whether I’m allright or not.
Otrherwise I’d start with X-rays, then sonograms and I'd end up inevitably in the RMI or Scan departments because something would look «weird»... Lots of worries and lost time too.
So this morning, after the last ET Scan, when my dear radiologist called me back to the secluded place where they tell you if...., he smiled at me and said: «Let’s kiss! You’re perfectly fine. You’ve never been this fine.»
Now, I don’t want you to think that radiologists are perverts, taking advantage of their patients. Mine isn’t, I promise. He’s a very nice young man.
But it’s become quite a habit for the past two years. (Before, my future still was very uncertain.)
RMI and scans getting good and better = a big kiss to and from the radiologist! (Even when Philippe is there... even though they don’t go this far as kissing too!) We also chitchat for a few minutes! Precious minutes.
The American Hospital in Paris is filled with really nice doctors even if you’re as close to dying as you can be. They still are very nice!
Most of them are extremely good in their field (or they don’t last very long there) but they all are extremely humane even though they tend to go straight to the point... at least that’s what they did with me. (And I liked their straightforwardness.)
For a long time, there were posters in the halls: «Here you are not merely a patient but a human being.» Which probably spelled to desperately sick people like me: «We-love-you!»
Understanding and care so close to love are important when you get very sick. A lot of patients also come from foreign lands and feel really lonely and lost.
I have been very sick but I’ve never felt lost or lonely there. This feeling is also very true concerning the nurses. They help a lot too.
In June, it’ll be 7 years ever since cancer first struck (or should I say, was discovered) and I’ve been to the A.H. so many times now it almost feels like home which maybe is not really a good thing after all, when you think of it.
But for me, it is almost «home» because I feel a lot of care and love there... And I’ve been through almost every department since almost everything fell apart, sort of!
Can’t say I really love being there but I kind of like being liked and cared for! By the way, no, I’m not back to sucking my thumb.
Of course, you start with one doctor and then you end up with your dream team!!! At least, I did, lucky me.
Well sometimes it was more like a nightmare tho!
The first member of this «dream team» was my radiologist. He was the one who first assessed the visible damages, the second time around... He was the one I yelled at, screaming that «No, it can’t be true. Not again.» But he also was the one who listened calmly and let me express my fears and rage and despair. He took time (out of a very busy day) to help a crazed woman pull through the pain. He kind of held my hand and found the words to soothe me and my husband.
So he’s never left my life ever since. He’s my radiologist, a very bright and talented young man. I do admire him. For many, many reasons, some of them very personal.
When it comes to cancer, radiologists usually are the first ones to face the monster and the patient. This is not easy at all.
So now, you know why today, it all ended with kisses. And a promise to get together pretty soon and spend a few «minutes» talking about something else than cancer.
Let me remember the day: April 8th, 2010. All this happened yesterday... yesterday already! Not bad. Life keeps going on! And I should get to bed...
*Good Night, and Good Luck*