Penny’s Blog

Archive for September 2009

I visited the spanking-new NC Cancer Hospital this week for a follow-up appointment.

What a contrast to the old Gravely Building. The patient waiting area is huge—you could drive an 18-wheeler through there—but less friendly and homey, now that the forced knee-to-knee intimacy of the old waiting room is gone. The bathrooms were far enough away that I almost got lost going back to the waiting area.  The blood-drawing lab at the old building squeezed two technicians and patients into a space about the size of a walk-in closet; now it’s a stroll from one end of their area to the other. Interestingly, the examining rooms aren’t too much bigger than the old ones. And, according to Dr. Van Deventer, the doctor’s work areas are smallest of all—which, he says, reflects the lower status of physicians these days.

I loved the floor-to-ceiling windows and the comfy chairs, but overall, the spacious, echoey environment made me feel isolated and disconnected. One of my favorite things about having cancer was getting to talk with other patients and their families—in the waiting room, hanging in the hall outside the bathrooms, getting (or waiting for) chemotherapy. This visit, the only other patients I saw were barely within shouting distance.

(I’m curious about the new chemo facilities, but at the same time, I hope I never have occasion to see them.)

Anyway, the bloodwork was all normal, Dr. Van commented on my unusually fast recovery, and everything’s peachy. I got three immunizations (flu, pneumonia, and D-PAT). In six months I’ll get fresh x-rays of my mouth, followup bloodwork, and that shingles vaccine they’ve been promising me.

And that, really, feels like that.

It was a year ago that the dentists noticed the shadow on the X-ray and decided to do a jaw biopsy.  Now things have come full circle.  I no longer have to ask myself whether I’ve reached “normal” yet: I know without a doubt that I’m fully recovered.   Cancer, recovery, readjustment have rapidly receded in importance, even compared to a month ago.  So I’m moving on.

Thank you, all of you who’ve cared enough to read this blog. Writing it has been tremendously therapeutic for me.  I continue to be grateful for the support, concern, and love people kept giving me over the past year, even when I tried to deflect it. If there’s ever anything I can do for you, please ask.



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  • dswope: I just happened by after my I received an email from a close colegue that he was headig for IVPalooza. All I knew was that it was a form of chemo.
  • Brian: Hi Penny; When I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma I found your site. Reading about what you went through was incredibly helpful to me. Tha
  • Tricia: Still here; still caring; still rooting you on!