The Importance of Just One Letter

I waited for THIS letter for a week.

It was a long long week.

Just ONE letter can make the difference.  It can change so much. The same way a phone call can. And did for me so long ago.

This month, the day before Thanksgiving is my ‘official’ 11 year anniversary.  I, myself, consider the day I had my surgery to remove my tumor MY anniversary.  But the medical people go by when you are done with treatment.  And for me, after the surgery, the chemo, and then the radiation, the last one was the day before Thanksgiving, 11 years ago.

Eleven!

It has gone fast.

The first year, check ups were every 3 months.  When they went well, I went to every six then once a year.  After 9 years, I was even released from the Cancer Center to my regular doctor.  Now this is a good thing.  And a hard thing.

I love my doctor. I have been with her for a long time. Even before my diagnosis of so many years ago.  I don’t mind going to a regular office. I don’t mind not going to the Cancer Center anymore.  I am thankful for all they did for me, but I don’t want to ever go back there!

The difference between the two, is that at the Cancer Center when they take your blood for testing, they get the results before they even come into the room to see you. So every time, I got to leave there knowing what those results were.  Waiting for them, even for that time is SO stressful.  I remember sitting there each time waiting.  Some times it seemed like forever. My mouth would get dry, my heart would beat so fast.  I swear I could hear it. She would open the door and in that second I would think, well, either in the next minute I will either be the happiest person in the world. Or not.  When she would tell me that my tests were wonderful, I could just FEEL the relief come over me.  I would practically dance out of the office.  I would let everyone know that ALL IS WELL!

NOW, I go to the doctors and get my physical. They take the blood for the tests.  THE tests….

And even though, she said I am healthy and well, I have to wait to see what those tests say. For I remember 11 and 1/2 years ago that I THOUGHT I was healthy and well, too.  But TESTS told us otherwise.

So I go home and wait.  This time, I signed up for an online program where I was SUPPOSED to find out test results before the mail came.  I have been checking that several times a day and nothing has been posted. Each day the mail came and I only wanted to see that letter from my doctor.  As each day went by and no call came, I knew that it was probably a good thing, for if they showed something my phone would ring. And yes, each time it rang this last week my heart would jump!

TODAY that letter finally came. Even though I expected it to be good, because it was a letter, my hands still shook. I managed to rip it a little opening it.  Then I got to read the words.

My blood tests were NORMAL!  Have a great year!

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And I can now.  I felt all week that life was on hold.  I couldn’t think of much else. My doctor told me last year that the cancer was a part of my medical history now. For me, it will never be just that.  It is something that I am reminded of daily when I see the scars. It is something you just don’t forget. Ever.

It really can’t be just a part of my history.  It is a part of who I am now. It will always be a part of my present.

Every year when I go back, I know that I will always be nervous. I will always want to just get that letter, no matter how long it takes.  And I will always hope to read the words that the results were normal.

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