Life is just a bowl of cherry tomatoes

Two years ago this week I began chemotherapy, and this morning I had my sixth post-treatment checkup with Dr. Pearl. My exam and test results were so encouraging that we were both smiling, happy, laughing. We have done an excellent job.

I’m always anxious in the weeks leading up to each visit. First, about a week before my appointment, I must go in for my blood test. I have routines for this ten-minute non-event — small rituals, really — that I’m sure will make everything all right. They include predicting how low the number will go (this time I decided on 12, and I was spot on). Then I wait. Sometimes Fairy Godmother Nurse Sylvia has a chance to call me with the results before my appointment, sometimes not.

When the day arrives — always a Thursday — there are more routines and rituals. Leave at a certain time, wear my good-luck earrings, listen to happy music in the car, park in my favorite spot at the Cancer Center. If I practice this magic, then all will be well. Moment by moment, I settle in. Breathe deeply, relax while the blood pressure is being taken, get comfortable while I wait for Dr. Pearl.

All I am doing is preparing myself. I must be prepared. No matter how much time passes, no matter how well I feel or how good my blood test is, I must be prepared. I know the percentages for my case. I know what all the chances are, and what the time frame is, too. I’m not watching the calendar, but I’m aware of it. I understand my odds, and in order to thwart them, I must be prepared, and I must practice these small bits of magic.

What Dr. Pearl does is practice his own art. He is, I think, spectacularly capable of creating the treatment plan that will, along with my participation, make me healthy. I see him only every few months, but each time I do, I’m reminded of just how blessed I am to be in his care. His art and my magic are a powerful combination.

When the appointment is over, when he has congratulated me, and I have thanked him, I take my time getting dressed. I need time; I have time. I make my next appointment, and it will be in the future, and the nurse smiles, because I know she knows that I am thinking, “Wow, the future.”

The final ritual in this cycle isn’t magic, but it’s necessary. I go to my car, get in and close the door, and have a little cry. Then I give myself a pat on the back, and go forward.

Or maybe it’s a loaf of cherry bread.

23 thoughts on “Magic

  1. So very happy for your good checkup. I understand your routine so well. My husband has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and has checkups every 3-4 months. We have so many little rituals that revolve around his blood tests and appointments – it all helps us get through since, most of the time we can live our lives without thinking about it.


  2. We all need our magic and rituals, my friend. May they continue to bring you the good karma you've more than earned for all the good things you give everyone else.


  3. Well done you! I've also suffered from a gynaecological cancer, but luckily everything was caught early and I got away with just surgery. I know how lucky I was – and you know that you are lucky too – it makes one appreciate every day!


  4. When I first read your post the other day, I couldn't comment. I got too emotional. I, too, have my rituals. And they're kicking in right now. . . because my next appointment is coming right up. I'm up to a comment now, though.I am so happy that you are well. I am so happy that you have surrounded yourself with healing rituals. And I am so happy to know you.Stay well, my friend.


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