“This is my secret," he said. "I don't mind what happens.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
I arrive early for my appointment with Dr. Panwalkar. I sit with my gratitude journal, filling in line after line. At 15 minutes past my appt. time I start to wonder. My friend Carrie assures me my pager is working. Dr. P is never late. He never leaves me waiting. I grab my phone and start going through my vacation photos.
5 minutes later we all hear it. An announcement. Reality crashes my mental trip back to the beach.
Code blue to exam room 7. Code blue.
Then again a few minutes later.
A flurry of activity ensues.
A lab person goes carrying a big red tray of supplies. Other techs go scurrying past. Patients sit wide-eyed. Quietly taking it all in.
My photos beckon me back. Back to the ocean, the sand, the blue, the serene.
Another 10 minutes go by.
Its warm in South Carolina. Not hot. If I lay flat, the wind rides past me and I bury my legs into the heat filled sand. I attempt to wade into the waves, but after mere minutes, the water numbs my legs and I scurry to get out.
I'm startled when suddenly my pager goes off. I greet the nurse and she takes me back. She asks me all the questions, I answer and then she hesitates.
"Dr. Panwalkar had an emergency this morning. He went to the ER with his patient. He will still come to see you. Can I get you a snack? Something to drink? It could be awhile."
I assure her I'm fine, because, I really am.
Not more than 5 minutes later, I'm surprised to look up and see Dr. P. He apologizes instantly. I tell him I completely understand. "Rough morning," I say and he nods. Then, the consummate professional he is, he immediately asks how I am.
He tells me we will cut my dosage by 30 percent which will be equal to 2 pills morning and evening, instead of 3.
He then tosses the gown aside and has me hop up on the exam table. He deftly examines me head to toe.
I have a little surprise in store for him.
When he goes to find the lump that started this whole new cancer adventure, he discovers it is next to nothing in size. Just 6 doses I tell him. He now smiles big.
I marvel at how he goes from a "rough" morning, to being completely in a grin--worthy moment with me.
He wraps things up conveying to me we will work to find the right dosage to make it manageable. "I think this is going to be great for you!" He says enthusiastically and then grabs my hand.
He walks me to infusion, and then rests his hand on my shoulder- see you in 3 weeks he says.
Infusion is full. I wait another 20 minutes. They finally come to get me and tell me I am in the overflow room today. Its in another wing, in a corner room that is clearly a makeshift room. There are no magazines, no tv- just a chair wedged awkwardly in the middle next to the pole.
The nurse again, is apologetic. But it doesn't phase me.
I'm still emerging from the sanctity of the beach. My body longs to dive down to the ocean depths of the clear sandy bottom, while my lungs fight for air. I feel myself break the surface of the water, blinking into the light- fully cleansed, and steeling myself for my full return back into cancer world.