This morning, I had my annual check-up with my surgeon from my second bout with breast cancer. Dr. Bland is one of those guys who’s no-nonsense and can be pretty curt when instructing a patient what needs to be done.
“You watch that area,” he’ll say. “Tell me if you find anything.”
He’s also a gentle man with a sweet smile.
After the usual hugs and hellos with Dr. Bland’s staff, including the latest resident to be clocking hours in the cancer surgery division, Dr. Bland burst into the room and started the conversation.
“How are you doing, young lady?”
Turning to the resident, he continued: “Now Miss Ryan is doing great. Never ages a bit. Look how good her skin is. Keeps herself in shape.”
Flattered by the positive strokes sent my way, I wasn’t quite prepared for the statement to come.
“As far as I’m concerned, you’re done. You don’t need to come back anymore.”
“Wha–huh? You mean I don’t need to see you again in a year?” I blubbered, certain that what he really meant was that I could space out the visits more, take a reprieve from the usual MRI or bloodwork.
Nope. That wasn’t it.
“Based on what I know–tumor size, no node involvement, number of years out–you’re cured. I don’t need to see you anymore. Of course, you can always stop by to see me,” Dr. B. said, possibly in an effort to soften the blow he’d clearly thrown my way.
“Okay, I’ll do that. Wow, thanks! Did you say ‘cured?'”