Steeped in Tradition: The Gingerbread House
Pleasant Diversion

Carry It With Me


Yesterday, I had another 6-month check-up appointment with my oncologist.  Everything is still looking good!  No signs of anything amiss; no concerns; no reason to even have scans any more.  This is very good news!  Happy day!

Here in Kalamazoo, we have a local cancer center for all cancer patients (adults, that is; the kids have their own space somewhere else) and their doctors.  It's a one-stop-shopping kind of place: oncology offices, chemo infusions, radiation, lab work, support groups and classes, fitness center -- all in once place.  "They" (the folks who initially envisioned this space -- and the folks who run it now) have carefully crafted a patient-centered place where there really is a welcoming and hopeful atmosphere.  I mean, cancer is creepy.  Everything about it is just awful.  But the cancer center here in Kalamazoo tries to create an environment of comfort and support.  The décor is homey and comfortable -- yesterday there was a fire roaring in the fireplace of the main waiting room, a volunteer was playing lovely Christmas music on a grand piano, and patients were gathered around a couple of tables working on jigsaw puzzles.  Not your typical medical waiting room, certainly!  All of the staff (from reception and scheduling to lab techs to the nurses and doctors) are friendly and upbeat.  They really do make an effort to bring comfort and a little "normality" to an uncertain and overwhelming situation.

The waiting patients have a different attitude than you find at most medical offices, too.  There is a lot of direct eye contact, smiles, offers to give up a chair or help with a coat.  Strangers - sharing that unwelcome bond of cancer - offer advice and encouragement and hope.  And all of this in the context of waiting . . . and waiting. . . and waiting. . . sometimes for hours.  No one ever seems short of patience or demanding.  I think we're all hyper-aware that important work is going on in that place -- and that we can't expect to stay on schedule.  We're all in the same boat, actually.  Cancer upended our plans anyway. . . so, what's a few hours in a waiting room with others similarly upended?

So why am I going on about this?  Well.  Let's just say it was probably the best way to start off the holiday season for me.  Surrounded by hope and patience and grace.  I want to carry the feeling I got in the waiting room of the cancer center yesterday. . . with me all season long!


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Oh fantastic and what a beautiful description. I wish I was there to embarrass yo with a huge hug!!


Good news! I'm so happy for you!
The cancer facility sounds so nice. My dad had a 2nd opinion appointment at the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo years ago. It had a more caring and considerate atmosphere also than most medical places... Wouldn't it be nice to carry that out into the rest of the world?


Living in the moment is a good way to stay focused and remain true to ourselves through this hectic season.
Love hearing your good news!


I am taking a break from putting up Christmas decorations (which hasn't been going well) and was feeling grumpy about it until I read your post. Thanks for the reminder about hope, patience and grace. Your good news brought tears to my eyes, Kym.


like Carole, I have tears in my eyes - so happy, Kym, for your good news and thank you for sharing such a beautiful and moving post!

denise copeland

Thank you for your beautiful thoughts that remind me to focus my attention on what is truly important.

What fantastic news!


What an uplifting post! SO happy to hear your good news. This facility you describe sounds like a godsend too.


Wonderful News Kym!!! I wish you, to be getting news like that ALWAYS !!!You are extremely lucky to have a local cancer center were you feel at home and are surrounded with patient, supportive and competent staff."Ti's the season to be grateful!!!"



As I was reading your description of the cancer center there, I was remembering the one in Madison I visited with Sharon and thinking about how important the environment is just because of all the time a person spends waiting around -- and then you mentioned that, too!


Wonderful news!

I'm so glad there's a place like that for people fighting cancer. Every community should have a place like that.

Barbara S

Congratulations...that's wonderful news. Yes, it's a nice way to start the holiday season.


May your spirit follow me as well this season. So happy for the good news.




I am so glad that you had such wonderful news, Kym. And especially how great to hear it at this time of year!


So very right; a wonderful way to start off this holiday season! Merry Christmas!


Your post comes as I approach my own six month check-up, and I'm grateful for your words. I'm nervous – it's been so hard to wait so long – but knowing that you can do it is so reassuring! XO dear Kym.

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