Fact: I am often the youngest person in the waiting room for all my appointments. When I was just going to the Gyne clinic for my pre-tests, everyone was around my age. Not so much when you graduate to the cancer clinics after you are diagnosed. This is a consistent trend at both Credit Valley and PMH. I often get that I look younger than my age too so I’m sure that doesn’t help (yay good genes and my Lululemon wardrobe… ha!), but the fact that I haven’t lost my hair and my complexion has relatively stayed the same since I started treatment four weeks ago, by looking at me you wouldn’t be able to tell I am sick. I don’t mind that I am the youngest person there – I just get a lot of looks – like I’m waiting in the wrong place, or I must be waiting for someone to come out of their appointment to drive them home. Then they call my name, or I walk out of the radiation treatment area where only the patients and technicians are allowed, or my pager goes off in the Chemo waiting area – confirmed I AM the patient. Sometimes I get the “poor girl” look – and then I smile and try to make them smile to show them “I’m ok. You will be too.”
On Tuesday I had my fourth long day of treatment – radiation, blood work and chemo. It happens once a week, its a full work day, its taxing on my body and I often feel very anxious leading up to the day because you never know how your body is going to react to all the treatments. But when I arrived in the radiation reception area on Tuesday I saw something rare – a little girl in the waiting area, probably around the age of my youngest niece, about 4/5 years old. She was wearing a beautiful, floral, flowy dress with a little pink cardigan – and she was bald from her treatments – she was the patient. You don’t often see kids at PMH, I imagine because most of them are across the street at Sick Kids. I found myself watching her like I am sure those other patients look at me. She was so excited to be watching the fish play in the fish tank. Suddenly all the feeling of anxiety I was feeling that day had been lifted when she turned around and smiled at me. It was like she told me “I’m ok. You will be too.” Thank you, lil girl. I will carry your smile with me along my journey.
Before I close up I want to share something so cool that happened on Tuesday. PMH has a bell on the Chemo floor. It’s called the Bravery Bell and when you complete your last treatment you get to ring this bell. I haven’t heard anyone in my previous three weeks of treatments ring the bell, but on Tuesday while I was getting my treatment three patients rang the bell. Everyone in the ward clapped and cheered and I became overcome with emotion. Next week should be my last chemo treatment before I go into the hospital for internal radiation (aka the big zap). I can’t WAIT to ring that bell. It is going to be epic! I may need to choreograph a Bravery Bell #TEALPOWER dance 😉
And if you haven’t seen it, PMH mentioned #TEALPOWER Canuck on their blog yesterday. Thanks so much for helping me spread the word! Check out their blog post here!