Yesterday I had an appointment with my oncologist. There have been a few changes, including the baldness, but he’s reading my blog, so he’s up to date. These appointments, although often full of high emotion, are not normally occasions from which one emerges in fits of giggles, but I felt the string of events and chain of circumstances led to some hilarity, which was, to be frank, a great way to start my day.
Blood work. Check. Greasy breakfast in hospital cafeteria. Check. I generally am someone who eats whatever she likes, and usually it’s healthy and really good for me, and sometimes it’s not. There are two things in which I indulge on a regular basis (well, food-wise, anyway). Greasy breakfasts, and chips. My weight doesn’t fluctuate very much, and when it does, it is easy to keep it in check. I realize this makes me lucky.
Cancer is not cooperating. While waiting, the nurse goes through the usual litany of questions, and finishes up by taking my pulse, oxygen levels and weight. Check, check, and whaaaaaat? Five pounds gained in two weeks. Gulp. So we discuss, my wonderful cardigan-wearing bearded oncologist whom I actually really look forward to seeing every two weeks, and I.
Me: I eat a LOT of chips.
Him: Do you like fruit?
Me: I’m allergic to most of it raw, but I can eat berries.
Him: How about broccoli?
Me: I like broccoli.
Him. Don’t eat chips. Eat broccoli.
(I find this somewhat hilarious.)
He assures me that this weight gain will not continue at the same rate, that it’s the steroids in one of the anti-nauseants I’m taking, and I am somewhat satisfied. (Although secretly determined to have that 5lbs disappear by next appt.)
So that’s one thing to swallow. (not the broccoli; the fact that cancer has the audacity to make me bald AND fat at the same time. Geesh.)
Next comes my favourite. The discussion of the bone scan. I had asked a detailed question about the scan results, and so he produced the report, which contained not only references to early signs of degeneration in basically all of my joints, (which is code for “You’re SO middle aged.”) and also the following line:
“Mild prominence of the symphysis pubis is likely related to the patient’s slender body habitus.”
Me: “Ahem. I’m not sure I understand this. What is prominent about my pubis? Not cancer, right?”
Him: “No. Not cancer. It’s just … funny.”
Me: “Funny? I have a funny pubis?”
Him: (laughing) “Yes. Don’t worry. “
Me: “So what I’m coming away with today is I’m fat, I should eat more broccoli, and I have a funny pubis; is that correct?”
(The irony of the above reference to a slender habitus is not lost on me.)
Handshakes, and I’m off in a fit of giggles. Good appointment!
This appointment is followed by what’s becoming a traditional day-before-chemo-burger with my father, about which I’m now very conflicted. Mine is usually sided with fries and nothing that grew from the ground. And topped with bacon and cheese. So although I couldn’t abandon the bacon and cheese, I actually ordered mine with broccoli. And salad. And there’s proof.
So here’s the plan: A little more of this,
And a little less of this.
A little more time on the trails, a little less time on the couch, for as long as I can. Starting today.
There are many things we do regularly in cancer-free existences, and we don’t necessarily to take the time to really appreciate them, and connect with exactly what it is we love about our chosen activities. This is a trail I normally run. It’s challenging, it’s beautiful and full of filtered-light-beauty in the forests, and one rarely crosses paths with another human. The soundtrack is rushing water and birdsong, and it is among my happy places. Now that I have to walk it, I get to spend a little more time there. And it’s a really good place to be on the day before next chemo session, because I get to remember that I can, indeed, ‘just be normal’. Silver linings.