I ventured back into Cancerland yesterday. Before everyone panics, let me explain. I did not go back as a patient, but a visitor. It was time for my six-month check up. I changed doctors because my group now has an oncologist in Gainesville…much closer for me. This new office will not require me to take ½ a day off for my appointments. It also contains its own mini lab so I don’t have to go to a separate location for my blood work. All in all it is a better situation for me.
So I go in to get my blood work done two days early, which as you know is always a thrill for me.  The nurse got me on the first try…hurray! Yesterday when I went back for my appointment, I was told the sample was bad. No problem they say, we just have to take another sample. I roll up my sleeve, but as I am sitting there, I notice that I am in the chemo lab. The way his office is set up, you have to go into the chemo lab for any blood draw. I didn’t really notice it on Monday when I went because the lab was empty, but yesterday there were people there. It was like going back in time to the raw emotional place you live in when you are in treatment. The sights and smells all so familiar that it transports you back, your throat tightens and your pulse rate jumps up. In the lab, there were people weak from the disease-killing poison. In the waiting room, there were women with fear in their eyes and wigs on their heads…only this time I was not one of them. However, that did not take away the feeling of empathy and an overwhelming sense of being in their shoes. I tucked all that away in the back of my mind when I went in to meet my new doc. I liked him. He gave me a good report, and because of my visit to the lab and waiting room, I was even more grateful that usual that I am healthy.
A little later, when I drove up to church and the blood mobile was out front, tears welled up in my eyes. (They do every time I pass one, by the way) Fresh from the doctor’s office, I was still in remembering mode. Seeing that blood mobile brought a brand new wave of memories of my transfusion, and how grateful I am that people I do not know will let someone else stick a needle in their arm and take their blood. You have no idea what a gift it is to someone who is sick. It is breath. It is life.
I got brave this time. I went in to thank the people in there, both the donors and the workers. I have always had an urge to do it, but the tears always stop me. I mean who would want a crying blubbering woman coming in to disrupt the flow of things? This time I climbed the steps and opened the door. Tears came but I didn’t care, I told the people in there how much what they are doing means. How those few minutes of their time can literally save someone’s life. I’m not sure they had really thought about it much. They are doing the right thing…they want to help people, but to hear HOW it helps. To see a person who benefited from it seemed to strengthen their resolve, and it gave me a chance to say thank you.
Here at the three-year cancer free mark I am ever so blessed. Yet, if you know my family at all, you know that we celebrate the hard things. We go back and try to remember them. Daddy’s Alive Day (Feb. 2) and now Mommy’s Alive Day ( Jan. 2), are days to glance back and see the hand of God in our lives. It is not as morbid as some think. (In fact, some of the things Bill after his brain injury were quite funny.) But the bible says to build a memorial that shows what God has done for you and to tell your children of his deliverance, lest they forget his power. We do not dwell in this place of remembrance for long, just enough to consider all the times God has rescued us. It reminds us that we are living on borrowed time. It helps us to cherish the relationships we have and to realize what is important. It reminds us to live fully in each moment because you may not have another. Remembering is a gift.

One thought on “Visitor

  1. Lost, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, sixty golden minutes. Each
    set with sixty diamond seconds. No reward is offered,
    for they are gone forever.(H.Mann)
    The more sand has escaped from the hour glass of our life, the clearer
    we see through it ( Jean Paul)

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