The Doctor Is Out

Photo Credit: Steven Schultz

The world sometimes can be a big, scary place for children to navigate. During childhood, it is not unusual for kids to find themselves afraid of a variety of things. The dark. Strangers. Being away from home.

As a little girl, I had some of those same fears, but one fear trumped all others. Some kids are scared of monsters or the boogeyman, but for me, there was nothing, and I mean nothing, scarier than going to see the doctor. The mere mention of a doctor’s appointment triggered a wave of panic and a torrent of tears. Fast forward to the present day, when a doctor’s appointment left me in tears once again.

This time, though, the fear that triggered the tears was not about having to go to a doctor’s appointment. It was about not having to go to a doctor’s appointment.

At my most recent appointment, my oncologist reviewed my lab work, conducted a physical exam, and said that I was doing really well. This was music to my ears! As a five year survivor of breast cancer, I don’t take my health for granted, so, I breathed a sigh of both relief and gratitude.

As we wrapped up the appointment, my oncologist explained that I was graduating to annual exams. While I knew that this day would be coming and that this was actually great news, the fear crept in and grew as I left. Cue the tears.

As I slid behind the wheel of my car to leave, the tears slid down my face. Tears of joy for surviving. Tears of sadness that I outlived my sweet friend, Michelle, who died 4 1/2 years after being diagnosed with breast cancer and eight months after I was diagnosed. Tears of guilt that so many others continue to struggle with cancer. Tears of fear that I no longer am being monitored as closely, opening the door for a possible reoccurrence. Tears. Lots and lots of tears.

The tears subsided, and as they did, I laughed at myself. I had gone from being terrified of going to the doctor to being terrified of leaving the doctor. It was time to dry my eyes, set aside my fear, and get on with my life. So, that’s just what I did and what I will continue to do.

That’s another story. . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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