How does it feel to be a cancer survivor going back to the hospital – not for treatments but for a checkup? What thoughts crosses her mind? And how does she deal with all the memories and the anxiety?
Mette is a teenage cancer survivor. Ewing’s sarcoma. It was placed in her right leg, just below the knee. In this blog she tells about her latest visit to the hospital. Once a year Mette must see the doctors again to be sure that cancer hasn’t returned. And to be sure that the prothesis in her right leg, where the cancer was, is sill intact.
Mette tells about all the mixed feelings she experiences when she’s facing the X-ray once again and getting the doctor’s judge. You might recognize some of it. Feel free to leave a comment. And please, share the blog if you know someone who has gone through a similar experience.
The Smell Of Hell
Imaging this: You have been to Hell. But you escaped. Today, you have a good life close to Paradise. But you will never forget your time in Hell. You know where it’s located. You can still smell it. Just by thinking about it you can picture every little detail of it. And once in a while you must return and stay there for a whole day.
Thats how I feel when its time for my annual checkup.
I hate it.
I. Hate. Hospitals.
My brother on the other hand loves them. He always says that the hospital saved me. I know it’s true. My mind knows that without that year at the hospital I wouldn’t be here today. But my emotions only remembers the bad things: the chemo, the nausea, the feeling of being the only one in the whole world under 80 years old with cancer …
The first couple of years after my last chemo I couldn’t go to a checkup without throwing up. “Expectation’s nausea” the nurses called it. The memories alone made me sick. But I had to go anyway. Like I must go today.
Stripping At The X-Ray
Today is like an exam. I am sweating, even though it’s cold and grey outside. First is the X-ray: I am sitting in the waiting room with a number in my hand. 27. I look at the screen. Now is number 21. There is still some time.
The nurse’s voice fills the room.
Already? I stand up and start walking towards her. No smile. Just a nod as hello. She takes me to a small room and tells me to drop the boots and pants.
For the next 15 minutes I must lay still while the big X-ray machine is taking the pictures. I lay on my bag, then on the side. The nurse tells me to move an inch this way, then that way. I’ve tried it many times before. I know that X-rays doesn’t hurt. But I also know that the checkup day is far from over yet.
There are no windows in the room. How is it like working here every day with out sunlight, I wonder.
“We’re done, now, Mette, you can put on your clothes again.”
I do as told.
“Do you know where to go from here?” the nurse asks.
I nod. Like said, I’m no beginner in these hospital buildings.
I can hear my boots clicking against the floor as I walk from the X-ray to the oncology floor. In a moment, the real exam will begin. The X-ray was just like the preparing room.
The Doctor’s Judge
The waiting room is filled with elder people. I feel like they are all staring at me as I take a number and walk through the room to find a chair. This is it. It’s the doctors judge that decides how my life will be from here. In here a few answers determines everything.
Is the leg okay? Are there any signs of cancer coming back? Any signs of damage on the prothesis? Am I facing another surgery?
The last couple of days I’ve had the wildest dreams and nightmares. My thoughts are a mess and the past is haunting me. Flashes of chemo and noises and beeping alarms is filling my head.
I hear my name again. I look up. The man in the white coat is standing on the end of the hall, waiting for me and waving. I have known this man half of my life now. Still, my heart is beating with double speed as I walk towards him.
For the next ten minutes time is standing still. I hear nothing but the doctors voice. Everything is still just fine. I am fine. My prothesis is fine.
And just like that I got one more year to live my life.
I shake his hand. As I close the door behind me the big relief runs through my veins. In this moment I promise myself to smile even more the next year, experience as much as possible and do my best to make the most out of everything ❤️
Soon I’ll celebrate my 33 years birthday, but on checkup days like today I’ll always be reduced to a little girl waiting for the man in the white doctor coat to turn his thumb up or down.
Want to read more? Order you’re copy of Willpower Girl – A Teenager’s Trek Through Cancer today.