I began my day, cool as a cucumber, despite the 80-degree weather that morning. Over the years I've become a patient of some remarkably smart and kind physicians. I was about to become a patient to someone I had met years ago.
I was feeling calm. It was a log drive from the westside to the Texas Oncology Center on the gateway. I had been there three times over the last six years and knew I would recognize the big dark pink building. But I didn't. I drove passed it and had to go under I-10 and drove back around to find it. I had to ask Google Maps for help!
The building is still there, but it's painted grey. It's no wonder I couldn't find it. I pulled in the full parking lot and found a space. And then, it all came back to me! My coolness turned into balminess. My palms got sweaty, my heart started racing and I felt anxious. I got hold of my emotions, took a deep breath and walked in. The reception area was packed with patients.
I found a chair, sat down and observed. I noticed two women with scarves covering their bald heads. My heart filled with compassion, pain and fear for them. I was in their shoes in 2017.
After filling out the paperwork, nurse Rachael took my weight and vitals. I have maintained my weight for 6 years and my vitals were good too. She left me inside the room, where I was able to gather my thoughts.
Dr. Inez Sanchez walked in with a mask and sunny disposition. Although I couldn't see her smile, I felt it. She examined me and we talked about making good food choices to include a little bit of wine, daily exercise, good sleep hygiene, staying hydrated and living life to the fullest. "Cancer can come back anywhere, anytime, so have fun," she said. She's right. I left feeling confident and with goals.
Before heading out, I stopped to donate five vials of blood for testing.
Later that evening, I learned my labs were normal. Thank God!
After hearing that, I went back to feeling cool as a cucumber, until my next appointment in a year or until my body warns me that it's time to get checked.