Tomorrow morning I head to UNC Women’s Hospital in Chapel Hill. I’ll park in the Dogwood Deck, hopefully on the second floor near the sky walk, and make my quarterly pilgrimage to Clinic D. I’ll check-in at the front desk and make small talk with the woman who has greeted me countless times previously before taking a seat with the other women at various stages of their adventure with reproductive cancers.
The first nurse of the day will invite me back to take my vitals and inquire as to whether I’m in any pain. Hopefully my weight will be down and everything else will check out as usual. I’ll let her know that my big toe hurts while giggling internally over the inside joke. I wouldn’t have reported something so seemingly inconsequential in the past. However, now I report everything because I’m afraid if I don’t I might miss something that will prove to be an early warning sign of something less trivial.
Up next is a quick visit with Dr. Gehrig. We will cover how the last 3 months have gone for me, cover any questions I may have, go over any instructions/suggestions she may have, and after a lightning fast internal exam she will wish me well until our next appointment in January when we will hit the one year post-chemo anniversary.
My last stop of the morning will be to visit my favorite ladies in the Infusion Room. While we discuss what I have been up to since I last saw them and I hear updates on progress of cute babies, they will take a blood sample for my CA-125 test and flush my port to keep it working as intended.
One last stop at the front desk to set up my next appointment and maybe a quick pop into the hospital Starbucks for a celebratory beverage and then I’ll be making my way back across the sky walk to find the GR(APE) to make my way back home.
None of these steps takes very long, perhaps 15 minutes max, but they are so emotionally charged that I often find myself wiped out when I’m finally done. It may also be because I will still be waiting on the results of the main reason I routinely make this trek. If all goes well, by late tomorrow afternoon I will hear back from Dr Gehrig that my CA-125 has continued to stay within the normal range. Then you can cue the sigh I didn’t realize I had been holding since probably my last check up.