Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hope Comes to Those Who Wait

Yesterday was the set-up prep day for Ross' radiation treatments.  We have both been anxious to get started with this.
Our appointment was scheduled for  I don't think Ross slept much the night before.  He unnecessarily had his alarm set.  We were both awake by 5:00.
The radiation center is about 25 miles from where we live.  The route is heavily trafficked.  So, even though GPS said it would take 27 minutes to get there, we left at 8:00.
The GPS wasn't too far off.  We arrived at 8:30.
For me, waiting in any medical type facility is stressful and makes me anxious. 

There is something about being in a place where "cancer" is the host.   It stands at the entrance watching for you.  It accompanies you in with its heavy hand on your shoulder.   It hovers over the room observing each of us to see which one it will descend upon, picking the most vulnerable to its ugly whispers of doubt. 

While Ross checks in with reception, I settle in, claiming my spot in the corner, knitting in my lap,  I begin to glance around the room. 
My eyes rest on the other couple across the way, waiting their turn to do battle.  I could tell he is the one cancer has chosen.  He looks tired.  She has her arm around him, rubbing his back. She says something to him which makes them both smile.  

A large bald man enters the room and hurriedly strides up to the desk to check in.  It seems as though this is just a brief stop for him before he is on the way to do important stuff.   It's a mere gnat of an imposition he has to brush away before he begins the real business of his day.   He takes his seat in the back of the room, pulls out his phone and busily scrolls through his, what I assume to be, appointments. 

Ross says something to me, I turn to him.  "What was that?" I ask.  He hands me his coffee mug and follows the nurse through the door.  

I look at my watch, it's 9:11.   The TV is loud.  No one seems to be watching.  

An elderly Asian man and his son come into the room.  He finds a seat for his father and then checks in at the reception window.  He is handed a stack of papers.  He sits next to his father to help fill them out.   I can slightly hear their voices.  They are speaking their native language. 

Ebbing and flowing, the room fills and empties.  Most who enter, look neither right or left but are solely focused on the check in window and which seat they will choose.  
Those who are there alone are looking at their phones.  Others who are in pairs are sitting quietly, now and then speaking in hushed tones to each other. 

As I look around the room,  I begin to notice something.  I've experienced this feeling before on each of the too many times I've been here.   It is the inspiring sense of hope in the room which is palpable.  It permeates the air with a sweet scent. 

Cancer may have greeted these people at the door, greedily waiting to feed on their fears but when they leave that "cancer" room they are standing taller, having had one more treatment towards kicking cancer out of their lives.  And, almost always, when they leave for the day, they catch the eye of one who is still waiting.  With a little wave, they nod and smile as if to say, you, we, are going to be okay. 

I pick up my knitting.  A sock.  Knit 30 stitches, come to the end.  Turn.  Knit 30 stitches, come to the end.  Turn.  Repeat this mantra until numb.

Ross starts his real treatments on May 20.  Five days a week for 9 weeks.  We are going to be okay. 


  1. You both are going to be just fine. I should have thought of this sooner and I'm not sure if it applies to people getting radiation therapy, but I'm a chemo angel

    We sent little cards, notes, gifts to people going through chemo to encourage them. Completely free on the recipients part with no obligation on their part to write back, etc. I don't know if they do that for radiation treatment, but it might (if you are interested) be something you and Ross might want to sign up for. I hear its really an encouragement to people going through treatment. I angeled 10 years ago, took a break, then started this past March and currently an angel to a lady undergoing chemo. I don't expect to hear from her but am hopeful her treatment will be successful (I can request updates on how generally she is doing).

    Just get a calendar, mark off each day of treatment, do something fun when you don't have treatment and plan something great for when the treatment is all finished.


    1. Betty, thanks for the info. It's a wonderful thing to do. Ross and I are trying to remain positive. We succeed most of the time :) . Your encouraging comments are so appreciated.

  2. Knitting is great for waiting rooms. Socks are great take along projects. I'm so sorry Ross is going through this, but together you can beat it, I'm sure.

    1. Thanks! I like retreating into my knitting while waiting for anything :)

  3. Wow. Profound post. I wish you and Ross well.

  4. I've come to your blog late after finding it on the A to Z. I didn't take time to look back to find out more about your husband's cancer but my heart is with you both. I've been there and know what you are feeling. Cancer sucks. Period.

    DB McNicol
    author, traveler, shutterbug
    Author Blog
    Personal Blog

    1. Thank you for your good wishes. I appreciate the thoughts.