I have a great primary care doctor. She's been with me, I've been with her, prior to marrying Scott. When I was going through my divorce, all it took was one phone call to get to her nurse and get the help I needed. When Scott and I decided to get married, I visited with her; I was impressed that she asked me if he was good to me, if I was rushing in to this new relationship. And then a few days later I found out her in-laws had been my Springville neighbors, her brother-in-law is one of Scott's best friends, and the deal was sealed. She's been my doctor ever since, even though it takes me 30 minutes, on a good day, to drive the freeway to see her.
My doctor called me personally, to schedule an appointment the following day, to tell me I had breast cancer. No message on the phone. She's kept her door open for me, even calling me a couple of times these past months to check on me.
We have a good relationship, and yesterday she reminded me again that she is only a phone call away - I appreciate that. She asked some questions, particularly because my cancer is triple negative, and she suggested I get the BRCA testing done, to see if my cancer is genetic - meaning if I'm a carrier, then perhaps I've passed this on to my kids, and there we go. I'm glad she cared enough to nudge me in that direction.
On the way home from my visit with her I started feeling a little light-headed and woozy. Not unusual, but it's been a few days since I've felt this way. And then I remembered that I've been acting like I didn't have cancer - Tuesday and Wednesday were work meetings, where I sat around a table with 5 other people, went out to eat, thought and talked about something besides cancer, shared germs. That's why I was feeling the yucky - because I had worked so hard at feeling normal!
So I called my oncologist's office, and they got me right in for IV hydration. Again, a phone call away, and they were there to help. Not only were my numbers still up, but I had a slight fever, they drew some blood (I have a love-hate relationship with my port), and I was encouraged to "take it easy" for the rest of the week.
I'm impressed with the medical care I've been receiving. When I'm a little off, they don't question me or scold me, but care for me. A blessing.
I came home to a napping daughter and grand-daughter. When Tempest woke, she crawled up on my bed and said, "You're not going to die. Nobody has to die." I didn't ask her where she came up with that thought - but no, I'm not going to die. This week I experienced my new normal and my old normal, and I am okay with both. I'm getting a little more comfortable with this 2nd stage of my journey - the healing enough for radiation. I'm understanding what the doctors meant by taking a little time off to heal. Yeah - heal - I like that.
Care, the Source of All Cure
Care is something other than cure. Cure means "change." A doctor, a lawyer, a minister, a social worker-they all want to use their professional skills to bring about changes in people's lives. They get paid for whatever kind of cure they can bring about. But cure, desirable as it may be, can easily become violent, manipulative, and even destructive if it does not grow out of care. Care is being with, crying out with, suffering with, feeling with. Care is compassion. It is claiming the truth that the other person is my brother or sister, human, mortal, vulnerable, like I am.
When care is our first concern, cure can be received as a gift. Often we are not able to cure, but we are always able to care. To care is to be human.