Last Thursday I was the 11:45 Echo Cardiogram and 12:36 Radiation. Friday I was 12:36 Radiation and 12:55 Blood Lab. Yesterday I was 12:40 Radiation and 1:10 Radiation Oncologist Evaluation.
Since February, my entire schedule has been blood labs, doctor’s visits, procedures, and tests. My calendar has been dominated by Kaiser (HMO), Kaiser and Kaiser. I’ve spent so much time at various Kaiser facilities, my picture should be on the walls. (Model Patient! Perfect attendance!) My life has been defined by a medical number, and my “See how great I’m doing” photos have been snapped in front of a hospital.
Yesterday I finished radiation, the last of the Big Three cancer treatments (chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.) Yesterday I was Patient Number X, going for this-test and that-procedure. Today I am Meredith, and I’m not even sure what that means anymore.
So many plans I had at the beginning of 2016 were dashed, so many activities canceled, so many dreams changed and rearranged. My life path is on a road that looks familiar but isn’t the same.
I just have to take one step at a time, without the almost daily medical appointments which served as my ball and chain. One foot in front of another, as I’ve done since this started ten months ago.
I still need chemo infusions every three weeks through next July. I have neuropathy (nerve damage), a side effect of chemo which may or may not be permanent. I can expect to be fatigued for at least two more months.
But today I am Meredith, and somehow that feels like freedom. One step, one step.