I went to work the following day craving normalcy. Work never felt so good. I was happy to be at work for the first time in years. Happy to walk the halls of the hospital. Happy to greet and be greeted by tired fussy nurses and doctors. It actually felt good to care for my patients. I had more patience for their hesitation, their confusion, their pain and complaints, their resistance to participate even.
I left work early to go and meet with an oncologist at our nearby sister hospital. I told myself if I didn’t like her I could find someone else at my hospital. Especially since her name was Ami. It wasn’t Amy, but still it was my name and I have a thing about people with my same name. Generally, the joke goes something about me needing to kill them because there can only be one of us. The joke never lands the way I want.
Dr. Ami Patel is wonderful. She’s smart, patient, compassionate, listens and I can tell she genuinely cares about her patients. She made it clear she read over all the results in my chart and clarified things with her senior and was well prepared to explain everything. She clearly thinks outside the box and is willing to fight for the best care of her patients. She spent two hours with me. She was patient and thorough and went into even more detail than I needed. My head had trouble tracking everything. At times things would start to buzz or blur but I focused and always came back seconds later. I don’t think I missed much. My wonderful patient mother was with me writing notes and asking questions. Filtering and processing everything I couldn’t. Will you be our quarterback we asked? “Absolutely! Yes I will be your quarterback,” she replied smiling. My mother and I both teared up once we reached the hall outside her office.
The plan was get some test results back from the biopsies of my tumor, you know, genetic stuff which chemo will work and what kind of genetic defect is causing it (or something). The truth is that this was the part of the conversation where the buzzing was happening and I was calling myself back to the movement of her lips and demanding that my brain focus and process on what was being said. But I knew that I would have to wait on the results of the genetic tests and I needed a CT of my chest and PET scan of my whole body. Nobody likes a surprise tumor.
In the meantime, I updated people. Lots more phone calls. My Crossfit box made a Facebook post and texts and Facebook messages, of the most encouraging, supportive, and heartwarming nature started flooding in. At work I informed my department and found out that not only did I have amazing community at Crossfit but all the “work is family” talk was genuine. Let’s just say nothing makes people cry quite like cancer. Overwhelmed all over again. And again. And again.