The joy of ongoing appointments

I was talking to someone the other day who was saying that going back to the Macmillan Cancer Centre for appointments is something she fears and finds upsetting. And I get it, there can be a certain sense of PTSD with these things, and constant reminders of the trauma isn’t necessarily what you want.

But my views could not be more different.

I remember the first time I walked into that building. Hanging from the ceiling in the foyer is a colourful art display of things picked up on beaches across the UK. From toy spades to flip flops to plastic straws to plastic crates and any other number of things. You could sit for hours gazing up at all the things hanging there, and collectively, I have.

I remember the first time I met all the smiling people who told me they would look after me. The oncologists who said they knew how to treat me. I remember the joy I felt at being in safe hands.

I remember going back every treatment week to catch up with everyone and start another session to cure me. All the people who were working together to give me the best chance at living. The laughs I had with my pharmacist, the smiles from Ambulatory care when I showed up for my chemo. We would debrief on our weekends.

I remember finishing chemo and being transferred over to my surgical team. The same building, but clinic was over the other side. You would think it would mirror the oncology clinic since it was the same floor but it didn’t. It was similar but not the same. But the pattern on the floor was the same – a colourful mosaic designed by the man who designed the Sgt Pepper Album cover. Can you imagine?

Even after surgery I didn’t feel on my own, despite being cast out into the big wide world – I had appointments to come back and see everyone. They still cared, they were still looking after me.

These days I get to come back for Oncology clinic every two months, and a chest xray to check it hasn’t spread to my lungs. I know some people would use that as an opportunity for anxiety that their cancer has come back and they will therefore soon die. I approach these appointments with excitement. I’m so glad and grateful that they keep monitoring me so closely and I quite enjoy getting told every couple of months that everything is ok. And if there is a day when it isn’t, well I couldn’t be more happy that they had kept checking.

The Macmillan Cancer Centre is also where I have access to my psychologist, as well as complimentary therapy (e.g. Massage and reiki *eye roll*). It’s where I can pop in to the ‘Living Room’ to make a cup of tea and probably make some new friends if I feel like it. It’s where I could attend support groups if I needed them.

This is the place that has taken me in, looked after me and hopefully saved my life. That keeps providing love and support, even now. That has somewhat been my second home over the past 18 months. That is filled with people who care about me and my well-being. What an amazing place to have! Why would I fear going back? Why would I get anxious each time they show they are still looking out for me? Why would I be angry at the smiling faces of people who’s job is to help me?

Every time I go back I am reminded of how lucky I am and I smile. I smile for all the good I have experienced over the 18 months, thanks to this very place.

8 thoughts on “The joy of ongoing appointments

  1. lucy_v_lymphoma

    We have such different experiences! Because I live in the ass end of nowhere my ‘macmillan centre’ is one shoddy office in my cancer unit ha. I wish I had access to a place like this!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. lucy_v_lymphoma

        Oh don’t get me wrong I couldn’t talk more highly of my cancer unit, they have been fabulous, its just macmillan that we have had such different experiences with! Maybe I’ll come visit your centre to check it out next time in in LDN haha!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yes. Absolutely. Macmillan are a huge presence in my centre, with a big focus on support. You miss a lot of that not being in a big city unfortunately. And other stuff too πŸ˜” hehe I’ll give you a tour if you do! Or we can just go to the pub instead πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  2. JOAN FISHER

    Hello Jen,
    You are such a positive person. Thank you! You make me feel so happy with your posts – both good and bad. You also make me feeling guilty for my own moans and groans. However, that guilt is a good thing – it brings me back to reality.
    I saw the latest item on your story on the BBC news online and I tracked down and followed your entire blog from the beginning.
    Good luck in your continuing journey! I follow you on Facebook and look forward to your updates.
    You are my heroine – God Bless you and your family.
    Joan

    Like

  3. Andrew Taylor

    Well, today’s the day I get my own little update on a spot of Cancer. Can’t help feeling a little nervy about it but the bottom line is, we need to know.
    I’ll let you know how I go, Jen.

    Loving the Blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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