Today, I reported to the hospital at 11:30, just as I was instructed. The PET scans are done in a portable unit that travels from one small hospital to another. The only day that they do PET scans here is on a Monday. When I pulled into the parking garage, I noticed that the tractor trailer unit was not there, and that made me a little nervous. I went into the hospital to register fully expecting to be told that my appointment was cancelled. It wasn't, but I did have to wait until 1 for my 12:00 appointment. I was so relieved that my appointment was not cancelled that, really, I was okay waiting in the hospital lobby.
I was reading my book and an elderly lady came down and sat across from me. I smiled and continued reading. Her daughter came in a while later, and said, "Oh, I didn't see you at first," to which the elderly lady responded, snappishly, "That's because I usually sit over there (gesturing to where I was sitting), but she was there, and I did not want to bother her." I was so surprised that I nearly burst out laughing on the spot, but I kept my face straight and my nose in my book.
Fellow cancer survivor Mary took a few minutes off from her desk to wander down and sit with me. She knows without words that this is a stressful time. I am just so anxious to be done, and to finally know, and to figure out what comes next. It is more helpful than I can say to have a friend who understands, no explanation required. I find myself getting a little weepy when she goes, overcome with gratitude for friends. Starvation, too, I imagine, not having eaten since 5 the previous night. Ack.
They finally came to get me. Another elderly lady got frustrated. "What about me?!!! My appointment is at 1!" and the attendant said, "Her appointment was at noon." On the walk back, the woman apologizes repeatedly for my wait. I don't tell her that I would have waited all afternoon, gladly, relieved as I was that the scan was not postponed until next week. I lay in a dark room for 45 minutes holding still, waiting for the radioactive marker to go through my system. I lay still for another half hour strapped in place while the scan was completed, listening to 92 Gold, and Fleetwood Mac singing about "Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow", and with my eyes still closed, smiled at the irony. When it was done, I tried to catch a glimpse of my pictures on the way out, but I could not.
The first time around, I knew that I had cancer. I simply did, don't ask me how. This time, I don't know, I honestly don't have the slightest idea of what I will find out. I walk out through the busy lobby. I look around at the people. So many people coming in, and walking out, each person with a story of their own. How will my story turn out? I cannot guess. The surgeon will have the report in 2-3 days I am told.
I get in my car and drive to the home of the 'other' Mary, my childhood friend, and we watch a comedian on the television and eat sandwiches, rolling about with laughter. By the time that I drive home, my shoulder throbs dully, and I wonder for the thousandth time what that means. For the thousandth time, I find myself getting emotional about my wonderful friends. I think again, for the thousandth time, I will be so everlastingly glad to finally know what is going on.