It’s the Waiting Room. . . What Do You Do??Life After Cancer — By Cathy Bueti on August 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm
I had a 6 month boob checkup at Sloan with my surgeon and after 8 years I still get super anxious. Two nites prior I started with a headache and by the morning of I felt sick to my stomach. Somehow I thought that it would be an easy appointment. Just a breast exam and no scans. But alas…I was WRONG! I felt a teeny bit less stressed being scan free but I still hated going.
My husband always goes with me to my doc dates. I told him he didn’t have to go this time. I don’t even know why. Maybe I wanted to see if I could go it alone. Maybe to prove to myself I was strong enough. It was the first time in all these years I went to see any of my doctors on my own. And I drove to the city. It was just too dam hot to take the train and subway.
As I entered the building and caught a whiff of that familiar smell I felt my palms start to sweat. My inner dialogue began. It went something like this…”You are fine. You are not going to have a panic attack right now. You are healthy and nothing bad will happen.” Sometimes it works. Sometimes I have to say that out loud to myself no matter how bat shit crazy I may seem at the time.
When my name was called and the assistant asked me how I was doing I almost snapped back at her “I would be alot better if I wasn’t HERE” but I resisted the urge. As she handed me the gown instructing me to open to the front I thought to myself “Yeah, yeah, I know girlie, not my first time unfortunately.” As you can tell I get a little bitchy when I am a nervous wreck. I will never understand why the hell they leave you in the examining room for so dam long. By the time 30 minutes had passed I was in super pacing mode like a caged animal looking to break free. My palms were sweating again and my inner dialogue was lost on me. Nothing was working. I refused to sit on the table and wait so I continued to pace that cubicle of a room until she finally walked in.
After all the travel time and the hour of angst my exam lasted all of 5 minutes. Thankfully the boobs checked out fine. No palpable lumps or bumps in them or my arm pits. As I breathed a sigh of relief she told me to come back in 6 months for my mammo and followup visit.
As I stepped out onto the pavement on 64th street and headed to my car I wondered if it would ever get easier. I wondered if it would ever feel like a “normal” doctor appointment. And then I stopped and thought “What the hell is normal anyway?”
How do you handle your doc appointments? Do you have any crazy rituals you use to maintain your sanity in the waiting room? Do ever wonder if the post treatment anxiety will ever end?
I am the author of Breastless in the City. Visit me at cathybueti.com