I stop for a mocha with vanilla scone on the way; my treat for having the courage to get my blood drawn. As I walk into the Plaza, the receptionist who greets me wears bright aqua eyeglasses and makes me smile. The intake staffer has photographs of her 4 sons (yes, FOUR) pinned to a wall of her cubicle. Three nursing staff, one of them very pregnant, laugh over a hot flash story as the blood pressure cuff tightens around my arm. Voices murmur in the patient room next door.
Some previously diagnosed thyroid cancers are being downgraded to chronic conditions, but not the kind I had. With cancer cells migrating to several lymph nodes, these were removed in 1991, along with the thyroid gland. Radiation treatments followed, and required long bouts with hypothyroidism (think fatigue multiplied by 10). The annual check-up brings this time to the forefront. Sobering? Yes. Bad memories revisited? Yes. Gratitude for all the years I’ve had since? Yes!
Waiting to be called for the blood work, I scan the room, wondering at what chapter each person is in their cancer story. I wish all of us well, take a deep breath, and offer one of my beautiful plump veins to the phlebotomist. The results, a few days later, are what I have come to expect. All clear. All good. Proceed with life.
And so I do. Hopefully, with wide-awake-ness at the glory of being here at all. And may you do the same, this perfect fall day of full sun and cool breezes, with people to love and life to savor.