I Think My Oncologist Is Breaking Up With Me

Earlier this week, I had my 6 month scans in Saint Louis.  Gotta love the good old Southwest Airlines as they have gotten rid of all but an obnoxiously early and late direct flight from Omaha to Saint Louis.  Gone are the days of flying down and back in one day without sleeping though the next four.  Not complaining in this certain circumstance as the kids were off at camp and I was able to spend extra time with my college roommate (relax next to her amazing pool) and catch up with my cancer twin.  

I had scans on Tuesday afternoon, was stabbed 7 times in attempt to get an IV in and completed my day with a cocktail.  Wednesday morning led to another blood draw stabbing and appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Brian Van Tine.  Staff turnover, I believe, at all hospitals since covid has been crazy but the sarcoma staff was entirely new this visit.  Weight and vitals were taken by a new face.  She didn’t know that the oximeter never reads my oxygen level or that I have an abnormally high heart rate even at sitting.  How could she?  Not her fault, but it put this already anxious person on high alert.  To waiting room ten I went … my doctor is on time?  Usually his compassion has him running an hour late (at least).  All things were not going as normal.  Then walk in … a new nurse practitioner!  Ahhh ….   She read my results and they were perfect.  Talked about timeline of my next scan and said I was good to go.  Then there was some debate whether I should follow up in 6 months or 1 year.   1 year ???  The study trial and my oncologist was going to let me walk free, left to my own thoughts and devices, for an entire year?  Dr. Van Tine wasn’t even going to see me ?  I left … flustered.

Called home to report the news and had a moment with Eric letting him know that Van Tine didn’t see me AND he always sees ME.  Eric reminded me this was a great thing.  I am no longer a patient that keeps him awake at night, not someone that is immediate in danger of dying or even needing treatment … or gasp … even needing a scan for an entire year !  It took a moment and a deep breath to take it all in.  I had spoken with others that had their oncologist send them off into the big real work with gasp only their family doctor seeing them (as if our bodies are just completely normal … ).   I had never made it this far… always either being on a clinical trial or having a relapse.  It’s a big step back into the real world and I probably needed a nudge to take the jump.  Deep breaths and the knowledge that Dr. Van Tine is still only a phone call away.  

Until next time.



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