I went to see my oncologist yesterday for the second time this year for a wide smile, friendly chat and a checkup. Ironically, it was the third anniversary of when I started to lose it:
Three years ago yesterday, I’d been up for three nights straight putting together a photo exhibition (my first) in my courtyard and had stopped taking ibuprofen, taken to smoking cloves and wanting to be an artist, damn it. Here’s one of my favorites from the show:
Around two in the morning after my vernissage, I was at some club and started dropping beers. Things then went slowly from bad to worse until by Christmas, I was seeing double and could barely walk. The rest, as they say, is history: accessible from the archive to your right ->
Yesterday, my oncologist and I discussed her recent trip to Egypt, my summer and the book I was reading. She couldn’t stop smiling, as she’s not used to happy endings to stage IV melanoma with brain and lung metastasis. Being an oncologist must be the saddest job in the world. She was going to order a PET/CT for December, so I told her the following story from the last one in May:
me: Hey Doctor, it says here that one of these exams is equivalent to four years of ambient radiation. This is my eighth, that’s thirty-two years of radiation!
Radiologist: That’s right.
me: Isn’t that unhealthy?
Radiologist: Well, yes, but, let’s see… [looks at file] Wait a minute. You had radiation! That’s thousands of years of radiation!
Oh how we laughed. And so did my oncologist, but we negotiated down to an old-fashioned (less carcinogenic) CT instead, as she agreed that I needed more radiation like a hole in the head – which they also gave me. We left my next appointment until ‘sometime next spring’ and I asked her if she had many patients like me. “No, not like you,” she said and smiled anyway.