The Parade of Appointments

Good afternoon from Montreal, Quebec! The Zsoltster and I have been here the past couple days while he attends the International Startup Festival down at the port of the city. I’ve been at my cousin’s house hanging out with his lovely family. It’s really nice to be around kids – they pull you out of yourself, and I don’t think about my worries when we play together or make lunch or just plain hang out. It’s really nice to not think about things, sometimes.

That being said, I’m still thinking about things at all other times in the day. It’s this weird morbidity that I’m having trouble shaking off. The other day we watched the Disney movie where a Navy dad with eight kids marries an artistic mom with ten kids. Both the man and the woman ‘lost their partners, who died a few years before’ and that’s all that is said about it. I nearly started crying right there during the Disney movie. But maybe that’s a post for another day.

In terms of what is actually happening (rather than what seems to be happening in my head, and I’m really trying to rewire even if it keeps creeping back in), the next several weeks will be a parade of appointments.

In this parade, we’ll see that familiar float, the bone scan – glowing skeletons will march down the parade route and be scanned for cancer by doctors with giant magnifying glasses and white lab coats, and then for some new exciting additions;

there will be a pulmonary test thing – which is, of course, the love float, with a lace-rimmed giant heart made of papier-mâché and filling the air full of soap bubbles from the bubble machine that’s hidden on the stage behind a heart-shaped topiary;

and a lung capacity thing – imagine massive yellow air balloons hovering over the crowd, breathing in the air as the flame fills them up bigger and bigger, with the lovely and daring Amelia (from that book I was/am writing . . .) inside and waving down to the crowd;

plus a stage one fitness test – I don’t know what that is, but I imagine it’s all the mom joggers out there converging in the parade and representing mommy chic, pushing their children in bright-coloured carriages with one hand and holding up gymnastic streamers with the other as the space above them fills with mingling ribbons;

a PET scan – which is all about sugar, as you might know, or radioactive glucose, so that float has got to be a giant honey pot oozing out onto the street and making things sticky for all other parade-walkers, and the honey crawls across the float searching out cancer to soak it up, except the organizer forgot to pack the ‘cancer’ sponges and so there’s absolutely no cancer there to soak up the honey, and it just runs over and eventually disappears into the sewers after the cleaners wash it away;

plus I have two meetings at cancer centres in Ottawa that offer integrative care. I have two meetings at two  places because if this is something then I want to go somewhere that feels right, and work with doctors who have both compassion and expertise. So imagine two football teams charging down the road on the parade route, pushing away any semblance of a threat. Hut-huting and competing to be the very best cancer-killing football team between the two of them;

next we have the ‘Santa Claus’ finish with what equates to the lung surgeon and my oncologist. I have appointments with these experts, and I guess they’ll be giving me the bottom line on everything.

And then at the end of that parade are Zsolt and me, walking hand in hand and full-on knackered from all this walking and participating. We’re waving, but really all we want to do is stop and rest on the sidelines. Maybe get a sausage and a cold lemonade? It would be much, much nicer to just watch and not participate. There is no float I want to wave from, no marching band I want to try for, no streamer I want to twirl.

And there you have it. It’s emotional and difficult. But I’m holding onto that bit of hope that feels so small compared to the mountain of tests and biopsies and crap I’m about to endure. Even when the morbidity sneaks in, even when my resilience fails . . . hope and love (cause we can’t forget love) bring me back eventually. Today we are here, and today we don’t have cancer. Not officially, and hopefully, not physically either.

Parades happen and they can be quite the spectacle, but I’d much rather go to the beach instead.

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10 thoughts on “The Parade of Appointments

  1. I love your vivid imagination, Catherine! I feel like I want to be there – and then I remember the context, and suddenly it doesn’t seem so much fun any more. I particularly like the idea of the cancer-killing football team and the organiser forgetting to bring along the ‘cancer’ sponges! It’s good to visualise powerful and positive images. I really hope you get to go to the beach, though. x

  2. You certainly have a way with words Catherine, and I don’t think I’ll look at my pulmonary function tests the same way ever again! Having said that, I really hope this particular parade ends in a spectacularly anticlimactic yay-I-don’t-have-cancer! after party. In the meantime, sending so many good vibes your way, and thinking of you.

  3. Ugh. I understand the morbidity stuff. 😦 As positive as we all want to be, it is hard not to think about all of it, including the sad stuff. I love your portrayal. I hope you find the place you like. My fingers are crossed that somehow someway you don’t need it all. *hugs*

  4. You might not see me there so much, but I am in the crowd, cheering you on, throwing lucky pennies at the floats. Even if you do not see me, know that I am there every inch of the parade. Love and hugs to you, P xoxox

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