So. This week was to be a Momentous Week for me.
But it didn't quite turn out that way.
You see, on Tuesday I was scheduled for my once-a-year check up appointment with my oncologist. It would mark my ten-year-cancer-free-anniversary, and top on our agenda to discuss . . . was whether I really needed to continue coming in for my annual check-ups.
These appointments always fill me with a little dread. (Because cancer is creepy, y'know?) But I also was really looking forward to this appointment. (Because graduation!) I also just really adore my oncologist! She is laser-focused and super smart, compassionate while being totally no-nonsense, pragmatic -- and funny when you need humor most. I was looking forward to celebrating with her, sharing a high-five, and thanking her for, well . . . saving my life.
A few years ago, my oncologist had her own brush with cancer when her husband become ill and died (just after my mom). She drastically cut her patient load and moved her office closer to her home when he first got sick -- about a 45-minute drive from Kalamazoo. She allowed me to continue on as her patient, because I was on the once-a-year schedule by then, and it made sense . . . if I was willing to make the drive. (I was.)
On Monday, I got what I thought was going to be a reminder message from her office about my appointment the next day. Only . . . it wasn't. Not really. The message said, "When you come in for your appointment tomorrow, you won't be seeing Dr. L; you'll be seeing another oncologist from the Kalamazoo office."
I called right back to reschedule. But. It turns out that my doctor had . . . retired at the end of June! Just like that. With no fanfare or communication or letter or anything. *
It was shocking to me. Very distressing. Suddenly, I had no oncologist!
I canceled my appointment. (Because, really, who needs to drive an hour and a half to see a randomly-assigned oncologist who normally practices a couple of miles from my home? And . . . who doesn't know me at all.)
And I've set up an appointment with my rather fabulous internist in a couple of weeks. He'll go over my most recent blood work (which is reassuringly normal and very consistent with every other lab workup I've had in the last 9 years!) and help me decide how (and whether) to monitor things going forward.
So. . . it's all good.
But also a bit discombobulating. Because I was so looking forward to this appointment . . . as closure . . . for a very disturbing time in my life. This should have been a celebratory week for me. And, well. It just doesn't quite feel celebratory yet.
I'm trying to just move forward. And I will.
I remember how lost I felt . . . back when I finished my chemo treatments and felt so raw and exposed and vulnerable. I asked my oncologist, "So, now what do I do?" She smiled at me and said, "You get out there and you just live your life!"
I think that's what she would have told me to do - again - on Tuesday. So . . . that's just what I'm going to do!
* I knew she was planning to retire soon. I just didn't expect it before I had a chance to see her again.