Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Change

I took a leap of faith by quitting my job of three and a half years on January 31st, and started a new job on February 7th. My new health insurance finally kicked in on April 1st. I started my breast cancer treatment on April 24, 2008, so upon the urging of Dr. Pronovost and Dr. Anke Ott-Young, both of whom I bumped into at the Westchester Airport last February 4th, I made follow-up checkups.

I decided to crash their offices today in Fairfield, CT to get these appointments. When I walked into the building, I was surprised to see that they had expanded their facility from just the second floor to both the second and third floor. Clearly, business has been good for the Norma Pfriem Breast Cancer Center. The lobbies were re-decorated with new flooring, fresh paint and updated furniture.

Despite our faltering economy, it seems the business of cancer treatment is immune to any economic downturn. The revamped offices also made me realize that time marches on, and thank God, I am not a weekly regular at those offices any longer.

I remember 2008 as the period of my life when I spent many long hours in doctors' waiting rooms. From April to July of that year I was in a reclining chair once every week with an IV that lead into a port implanted into my collarbone area. The nurses called the fluid pumping into my body a "chemo cocktail." Since the fluid was pink, I liked to think of it as my cosmo martini that flushed through my system to kill off cancer cells. It was a year when I spent October and November with my left arm lifted getting my chest radiated on everyday. At one point, they had to stop the radiation because my skin got burnt up very badly. I will have a "radiation suntan" on the left side of my chest for the rest of my life. My underarm hair has never grown back since then. That's what radiation does. All I can say is, thank God they didn't have to radiate on my head. And then of course it was the year I was completely bald from May till the end of November. Which, when I look back, wasn't such a big deal after all.

The good news is my time spent in those offices was not in vain. But now that those days of doctor's visits are over, it's time to take advantage of my recovered health. For all of us survivors, we owe that to ourselves after all we've been through. We owe it to those that are going through what we went through now. We owe it to the world because we learned something during our cancer battle. I am participating in the Susan G. Komen walk once again this June. It's my responsibility to use my re-found health to make a difference.

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