23 February 2010

The Man Who Took The Wheel

Dr. T introduced himself with a big handshake accompanied by a luminescent smile that lit up his apple cheeks. Even more fetching was his very bold and colorful shirt and tie combination which paled his white coat all the more. I don't know what oncologists are supposed to look like or seem to be, but, "bright and smiley" were not words I would immediately associate with them. Beneath his shiny veneer, Dr. T is a well-credentialed and experienced oncologist and hematologist. (Wow! Two birds with one stone. Begone! pesky blood clots!). Naturally, because of his good reputation, he had a busy practice. And it was apparently difficult to get an appointment to see him. "He's one of the best. You're blessed," said the Chaplain to me.

Yes, his credentials and reputation were certainly important. But, I knew that I wanted him as my oncologist when I shook his hands and looked into his eyes. Dr. T exuded confidence, but not ego. He was professional, yet cordial. He was also very forthright, assuring and compassionate as he delivered the news that he couldn't tell what cancer it was. Were he another doctor, I probably would have fallen apart. Instead, I appreciated that he wanted to have more tests done, including further examination of the biopsy by the pathologist. Without my asking for it, Dr. T was going for the "second opinion."

Even though he had no answers by the time we said "goodbye" at the hospital, Dr. T sent me home with this comfort: Whatever type of cancer he found, it was going to be treatable and "We might even be able to make it go away." Again, said with THAT smile. What a great big dollop of hope! And what a lot of boost, as I set to left the cocoon the hospital to face the world. At least at that juncture "Now what?" had an answer. Unequivocally, that answer was to put my life in this man's hands. Altough very sad and scared, I felt assured that Dr. T had taken control of the wheel of the most out-of-control and scary ride of my life. After that, I was prepared to ride that car where ever Dr. T took it; because I knew that he had mapped it to go to a place called "Treatable."

A week from my hospital releas, I was going to meet with Dr. T so he could tell me what kind of cancer I had and we could start treatment. It would still be a scary ride. But, I had confidence in the driver. I knew he had it under control.

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