In January, I was at Cancer Treatment Center of America for five days for my most recent tests. Prior to that, my last scans were in June 2015 and I had genetic testing a few months later, in September. This trip in January was an eventful one to say the least.
A longtime friend flew from Washington into Atlanta and met us at the treatment center the same day we arrived. She enjoyed her first meal there of filet mignon, brussel sprouts with cranberries and brown rice. *Best hospital food EVER*
The next day was my bone scan, which was clean, clean, clean. Florence, that was for you!
|Looking over my schedule figuring out where I needed to be next.|
I had lots of time during our visit because my appointments, some being nuclear med scans, had to be spread over several days. So, I painted and colored in the Cancer Fighters lounge, attended a worship service in the chapel, played pool in the billiards room, met new friends, visited new friends who were hospitalized as inpatients and went to Southcrest church for their Sunday morning service.
|Worship at Southcrest|
|Worship at Southcrest|
|My friend and others coloring in between my appointments|
|Coloring in the Cancer Fighter Lounge|
|A design I colored|
I savored every one of those activities with the exception of shooting pool. Despite being stuck with needles, injected with radioactive goo and made to lie in machines with cameras closing in around my body, I felt like I was at a relaxing retreat somewhere. My PET scan followed a few days after the bone scan. It showed healing progress and no new growth.
|Waiting for my PET scan after the radioactive tracer had been injected|
|Great invention! Patient Warming System. Put it under the blanket and it blows warm air to keep the patient cozy!|
My blood work also looked good and we are still rejoicing!!! This has been a long road and we are continuing on, throwing off everything that has been a hindrance, one problem at a time. My doctor has recommended short term physical therapy and acupuncture to deal with some side effects of my current medication and I am seeing a chiropractor to help with some mobility issues in my right arm and I still bandage a chest wound every day. But to see where I was and where I am now brings me to tears when I think about it. The 23 rd Psalm is my favorite. I can relate to the author when he refers to walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Without a portable oxygen tank hanging from my shoulder, a PICC line sticking out of my arm and hair on my head again, I don’t think people see me as a cancer patient anymore. I like that. When I first got to CTCA, I was not myself. That shadow of death was darkening who I was. The people there were so wonderful to me and I didn’t like that they couldn’t see the “real me”. But I was doing all I could do at that time. As I continue to improve, the real me is revealed and an even better me is emerging. God has been hard at work here. He heals me through the work of many people. People here, at home and people at CTCA. I believe Cancer Treatment Centers of America understands what true healthcare should look like. My friend that visited from WA was impressed to hear the CTCA driver that picked her and some others up from the ATL airport say that if he won the lottery, he’d still come to work. He loved his job of being a driver for CTCA. He said if he just wanted to be a driver, he'd drive a taxi. It’s helping the patients and caregivers that he enjoys. Carrying bags, assisting those with special needs, making people feel special. When I first get to CTCA each trip and check in at Guest Accommodations, they know me by name. That makes me smile. Then, in the café, I get warm greetings from the staff there. They complement me on my new hair and say they’re happy to see me again. Bruce says he will order artichokes to make artichoke feta veggie pizza for me. Mark, the music therapist, sees us eating and stops to ask how long we will be at CTCA and if we will make it to Drum Circle. Commie and Yvonne from housekeeping see us walking the halls and greet us with smiles and gentle hugs. The men in suits (security) and earpieces also see us and ask how we are and if there’s anything they can do for us. Ginny in the Cancer Fighters Lounge happily greets me when I peek in to see what’s going on in there. She invites me to sit down and color and relax. The man who comes to the waiting room to get me for my scans smiles at me and explains the procedure before doing anything else. I appreciate this and what the others do also. They are as much a part of patient care as are my doctors and nurses and techs. CTCA understands that and it’s depicted in the large mosaic on the wall of the café.
|Close up of the tiny pictures that make up the mosaic|
But every one of the pictures contributes to the mosaic’s beauty. Like each person at CTCA contributes to the patient’s wellbeing. A mosaic is a good illustration of the people in my life apart from CTCA also. So many people have contributed to my healing. If I listed them by name, it would be a long list. I’m very grateful for each one.
"When was ever honey made with one bee in a hive?" ~ Thomas Hood