Making a good impression. I know it’s important… I’m doing the best I can.

“Oh Shit!”, I muttered as I sat up in bed, searching for my phone, to see how long I slept.

It wasn’t on the bedside table, where I always put it at night. I clumsily looked around, before finding it underneath me, in bed, the battery dead.

“Mom?”, I called as I opened my bedroom door.

“Good morning sweetie”, she said.

“What time is it?” I asked.


“Oh shit, oh shit, or shit”, I muttered on my way to the bathroom.

“What’s ‘oh shit’?”, my mother asked.

“My appointment with Dr. _(insert name)_ is at 12:00.”

“Don’t worry. If you leave now, you’ll be fine.”

“You don’t understand”, I yelled from the bathroom, “I have to get ready”.

“Well get ready.”

“I don’t have time.”

“You’re running late, but if you leave now…”

What Mom didn’t understand, what doctors don’t understand is this…


“Your hair is really tangled”, Mom repeated for the tenth time, as she tried to get all of the tangles out of my hair.

“Yes, I know”, I said, “I haven’t done anything with my hair in days.”

“Oh honey bun…”. She said.

Not only hadn’t I brushed my hair in days, I didn’t remember the last time I brushed my teeth, or washed my face, or…

It all seemed to be so much work. Those things that I did without effort before, have become work, that just doesn’t seem to be worth the effort.

I also hadn’t showered…

changed my nightgown…

gone outside…

talked to anybody who didn’t live with me…

I needed to phone the pharmacy to repeat my medication, find somebody to fix the eavestrough, make arrangements to switch our winter tires, phone my social worker with the cancer centre, and make arrangements to have enough food to eat.

All of these things, weighed on me, making life even harder than it already was. I can feel the importance of these things, know I don’t feel strong enough to do them, and understand the consequences of not doing them. It doesn’t make me do these things. It just makes doing them… doing anything…even harder.


Today it all came crashing down. I needed to get to that appointment. I’d already missed two appointments with this doctor (I tried to be at those appointments too). I couldn’t totally destroy his opinion of me by missing a third appointment, but I couldn’t go as I was.

He’d see the tangled hair, smell the stinky body, smell my stinky breath, and judge.

He wouldn’t see me as I am. He’d see me as an inconvenient problem who is socially beneath him, and not worthy of his time or attention.

Those times he discusses me with the team in the “interesting cases”, meetings would disappear. The input and phone calls I get (and presumably he gets) from other doctors about my unusual cancer would stop. I wouldn’t get the medical attention that I need, and I’d be left to deal with things on my own.

Because… If she doesn’t care about her health, why should we?

He wouldn’t see the sleepless nights, filled with remembering my father, and quietly crying, trying not to wake my mother up, but hoping she would wake up and comfort me.

He wouldn’t see the daily struggle.

He wouldn’t see, that although I am a mess and my life is falling apart I am trying as hard as I can.

I am not normally like this. I am kind, and generous. When Mom was sick the first time, I was super-daughter, rushing her to doctor after doctor until we finally got a doctor that was not only willing to diagnose her, but one that was willing to treat her normal pressure hydrocephalus (more about that here), and got her admitted to a rehabilitation ward in another hospital. When that was done, I arranged for her to have follow up care in our home.

All of this had to be asked for. Actually not just asked for, fought for. If you didn’t know how to fight for it, you were not given the best treatment.

When Dad was sick I took care of him for two years. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to take care of his symptoms, and many times I woke up just a few hours later, because he needed me again.

When anything needed done, I was called. Many times I didn’t even need calling. I just knew what needed to be done.

The myth that those who live with their parents do nothing to help their parents really upsets me. I live here. When I am healthy I cook. I clean. I nurse when sick. I stay awake when needed. I’m woken up during the night. And I don’t mind. I want to help my parents when they need it.

And they help me. They take care of me when I need to be taken care of.

But this doctor…

He doesn’t see all that. He sees me for 5 minutes in each appointment. He spends three hours operating on me when I’m totally out cold. He decides who I am and judges me worthy or not worthy of his time and attention based on that.

It’s important to be clean and well presented at each appointment.



Well I phoned the receptionist and asked if I could make another appointment and was told there was a cancelation at 2:00 pm. Could I go then? Yes.

I rushed around getting myself ready, and drove into the city.

I waited for 20 minutes behind an unexpected train.

And was late.

Admitting phoned and asked if I could still see him.

I could.

Mom and I walked to the examining rooms section of the hospital, was given one almost immediately (that hardly ever happens), saw the doctor and left about 5 minutes after arriving.

I felt so rushed, that I didn’t get to ask my important questions:

Did he get all of the cancer?

Did he think the cancer would come back?

Was the surgery hard to do?

How much cancer was there?

What do they do with the cancer tumour?

What are the stages of a cancer tumour? (Before my surgery, his resident mentioned it, but didn’t explain it).

But I didn’t ask, and he didn’t tell me. I was so nervous I forgot to ask, as he stood by the door, his hand on the doorknob, looking like I was so repulsive that he wanted to flee. He asked if I had any questions, and I forgot what the questions were. I said “no” and he left.

He did tell me “it looked good”, and that the cancer centre would “follow up”, and that I’d get “periodic scans” to insure there wasn’t “anymore cancer”.

And that was it.


I drove home. Or at least I should have. Instead it was very apparent that we had a very flat tire, once we walked into the parking lot.

We went to were we usually get our tires, stumbled through describing the problem (I don’t know why I had so much trouble. I’m not an idiot but the guy who works at the tire wouldn’t know that from that very awkward exchange) got a “used loner tire”, so we could go home, and were told we have to go in again when the tire they ordered for us “comes in”.

Then we went to the gas station but couldn’t find enough cash between us to get even $20.00 of gas, spent way too much time discussing and deciding if what we had was enough to get enough gas to get home, drove to the bank, drove back to the gas station, and drove back to the back to the town we live in.

Before going home, we got slurpies and snacks, as well as something, for super. As of 8:01 pm we still haven’t cooked it. And we might not. This might become one of those days we eat nothing but small snacks like beef jerky and coke, and get to bed by 10:30 only to start crying and finally get to sleep at 4:00 am, each of us trying to be quite, and not wake the other person, who is wide awake and trying to do the same thing.

We might get up and repeat the process of getting through the day with as little sleep as possible, not having the ability or interest in cooking or eating anything, and repeating the night before.


Doctor’s don’t see this. They don’t see the messy hair, because we don’t let them. They don’t see the sleepless nights because we don’t tell them about it. They don’t see the reason we aren’t eating because they wouldn’t understand in the first place.

They wouldn’t understand. We don’t even try to explain. We are doing the best we can, but they can’t understand that.

And then we get judged as uninterested / non-compliant / a bad historian or any other number of things they put in their charts about us.

And then the patients, who probably need their care the most, get pushed to the bottom of the priority list and get the least amount of care they are willing to give.


Note: This would be the end of the blog post but… although I always knew making a good impression to every doctor was important, these two videos reinforced it. In one the doctor is upset because the patient is not giving enough information, and in the other the doctor is upset because the patient is giving two much information. I’ve been accused of both. “You didn’t tell me about this surgery…”, one doctor said and at another time another doctor said “You don’t need to tell me about something that far back”.


Thank you for reading this post.

If you liked this post, please share it, like it, and/or subscribe to this blog? If you’ve already done that: thank you.

This is posted in both of my blogs. You can view my other blog here if you want to. And if you do, thank you for that too.

I’m really really very scared.

Surgery! To remove my Lymph node? In three days!?!

It scares the crap out of me.

I missed the conversation with my surgeon about it because I slept through it. Nothing fancy, like I was in the middle of a poop-a-thon (no that was the reason I missed another appointment – well sort of), or a cute man came to my doorstep and well fell madly in love, curing my cancer and everything else that was wrong with my life (as if real life ever follows the plots of made for TV romance movies).

No: I missed the appointment because I slept in (till 1:00 pm), and woke up to the sounds of the phone ringing me fitting into my dream. By the time I woke up, he had hung up.

I could have immediately phoned back, but I felt so low and hopeless that emotionally all I could do was cuddle up deeper in my blankets and try to go back to sleep. When that didn’t work, I watched youtube on my phone.

Emotionally, missing that appointment and other things hung over my head all weekend, bringing about daily tears and worries my surgeon will take it out on me by telling me off or (worse) doing my surgery badly on purpose.

I worry I’m strong enough to phone my surgeon’s secretary on Monday and tell her I’m really sorry and can I have another phone appointment to discuss my surgery.

I’m so afraid:

I’m afraid to call my surgeon’s secretary and tell her why I missed the appointment. I’m afraid to not call the secretary. I’m afraid of the surgery. I’m afraid of life after the surgery.

I’m just plain afraid.

And I don’t know what to do.

I wish I had somebody to just take over my life and say “don’t worry, I’ll take care of all of it”, but I don’t.

I have family that will drop me off in the morning to have my surgery, and pick me up at the end of the work day after my surgery, expecting me to wait around, in pain, and for hours after the surgery in the cafeteria of a hospital that is in one of the worst areas of my nearest city. (I live in a small town 45 minutes outside of the nearest city.)

I’m hoping I can arrange with the cancer clinic to stay at one of their “out of town” lodges for the afternoon after my surgery. Maybe this way I can get a bed, and not have to sit in an uncomfortable chair while I’m to “impaired” up to drive.

I’m afraid I won’t have groceries or other things I need after my surgery. I’m afraid I’ll be expected to be fully recovered just a week after my surgery, because so far only my mother believes how sick I am and how much I’m in pain with the cancer tumour that is on my lymph node right now and she lives with me. Instead I have family that tell me “I’m not walking enough”, and “not getting better fast enough” (from my first cancer).

Can I even live without a lymph node? Will I have to take medicine to replace what the lymph node does? Won’t a missing lymph node damage my immune system, making it easier to get covid and every other virus under the sun?

Will this misstep with missing the surgeon’s phone call irreparably damage my relationship with my surgeon? What about with my two oncologists? Doctor’s do talk to each other about shared patients. Don’t they?

And… That’s not my only worry. One of the eavestroughs of the house partially detached itself from the roof. I don’t know how I’m going to get that fixed and recover from surgery at the same time.

Will the cancer come back a third time? This is my second cancer in a year. I thought I had dealt with cancer and getting treatment and it was all over… And then this lymph node cancer comes up. What if a third comes in another 6 months? I already had more radiation (for that area) than I can ever have in my life time. That’s why they are removing this cancer and not treating it with radiation. Chemotherapy won’t work either, because all though I can have more chemotherapy having more for this type of cancer is not effective. (Yes I had chemotherapy and radiation at the same time.)

So what if a third cancer comes? With radiation, chemotherapy and surgery all being options tried and failed, what else will happen? Will they just tell me to go home because I’m dying?

Who will be there for my mother in her old age if that happens?

I wish my father was here for all this, but he died a year ago. The day after my surgery will be exactly 1 year after his death.

What are the chances? My father dies, and then I’m diagnosed with cancer just a few months later?

When my father was dying, my brother visited constantly. With my being really sick, we hardly see him. I’m afraid to piss him off by talking to him about it because I don’t want him to get mad and not drive me to my surgery. He already refuses to get groceries for us or drive me to appointments.

And that’s my life right now. It sucks. Well I haven’t even dealt with the poop-a-thons or the pain that consumes many days even though I am on pain killers. Maybe in other blog posts I’ll deal with those. Maybe not. (Note: 2 months later I did write about poop-a-thons. If your interested check out #10 in This post titled: 10 Things that demonstrate how Ugly Cancer Sometimes is.)

Thank you for reading this blog. Since this post was made, I created another blog to help me deal with my cancer, because cancer and the ICU are two different health problems.

Although I will one day post more on this blog, and finish the story of my ICU experience, at this time I am writing more on my other blog, My Health My Blog.

This link will take you to it.

Again thank you very much for reading my blog. If you like what you read, please share it and / or subscribe?