CSN Login
Members Online: 6

You are here

The Oncologist & The Terror

Peter_S's picture
Posts: 260
Joined: Oct 2018

Finally a red light, I came to a stop and Squinted into the mirror trying to decide if my lip was swollen or not. The late afternoon sun made it hard to tell even though it was so bright. I’ll do anything to avoid a physical altercation, I walk away rather than fight. But regardless of how hard I tried to rationalize it I couldn’t convince myself, I knew fighting with Max was a bad idea. Max was a far superior opponent and my low level boxing skills and sloppy foot work paled in comparison to the lethal fighting machine that was in every way, my long time nemesis, Max. It didn’t matter that Max was a fraction of my size Max was small in stature for a twelve year old girl. Max may be small but she’s scrappy.

I pulled the car over and searched the glove compartment for my castanets, the red ones I bought in Mexico. They had gone missing, I was certain I would find them there but alas they were nowhere to be found. Ten years ago I quit smoking so now when I’m nervous instead of reaching for a cigarette I perform the Forbidden Dance of the Seven Veils to calm myself down. There wasn’t enough time anyway I thought glancing at my watch and then I looked up at the massive building before me, the Oncologists office – I had arrived.

This wasn’t your average medical building, it was menacing even ominous looking, It’s gothic vibe a welcome break from the cookie cutter buildings I had become  accustomed to. When you see lot’s of medical buildings like you do when you have cancer they all start to look the same. I watched the little hump backed man in the tiny booth pull a lever and the draw bridge started to lower. I rolled down my window to take my ticket and he smiled a toothless smile at me and told me I could have my ticket validated inside. Up close the place was even more like Frankenstein's Castle, all that dark stone and those sky-high towers. It was all a little much especially the moat, I mean really - who installs moats anymore?

The double doors in front of me were massive, standing what had to be at least twenty feet tall. I searched in vain for a doorbell, an intercom anything but there was nothing and as I turned away that’s when the doors began to creak and slowly open all by themselves. When they stopped moving I peered between them into the darkness inside. It was pitch black, the darkness was as thick as velvet. I couldn’t make out a thing. There was just enough space between the two doors for me to slip through sideways so I made my way inside and the giant doors quicky creaked to a close behind me. 

My eyes took time to adjust to the dark far too much time so I took off my sunglasses which helped speed things up. But still, there was little I could make out. I could see that room was beyond gigantic and that the floor and walls were made of dark stone, the kind that looked perpetually wet. I Looked up at the ceiling it was so high it looked like it went on forever. I was certain of one thing I thought to myself, the lighting in this place was dreadful.

There was no artwork, furniture or decorations, not a single touch of panache. The designer should be slapped on sight I muttered as I read the only sign there was. It had huge letters at least ten feet tall, and a strange font I didn’t recognize, it was carved deep into the stone and it read “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here”  How cheerful I thought, that's the exact sign over the gates of Hell. A nurse dressed in a far too tight but still smart looking black uniform appeared from the shadows “Vollow Me” she said her voice a low and sultry whisper. She led me through a maze of seemingly endless dark corridors with only the faint yellow light from the candelabra she carried lighting our way. We walked in silence, the only sound the clicking of my shoes against the stone floor which I thought peculiar because I was wearing sneakers.

I stood in front of yet another massive set of double doors. I turned to ask her what the deal was with the giant doors, but she was gone, she had vanished like vapor into thin air. The familiar creaking noise had begun once again as the doors started to open and I stepped inside. It was another great, cavernous room, a fire crackled from a fireplace so tall I could have easily walked into it without having to watch my head. The light was enough to make out the ornately carved wooden desk with a high back black faux leather executive chair behind it with the back facing me. There was an uncomfortable looking chair in front of the desk I walked over and took a seat and the hard straight back chair was even more uncomfortable than I had imagined.

“ Pleeez make yourzelf comfortable vee haff lotz to dizzcuzz” The voice was strange it filled the room and came from everywhere just like those new quadrophonic stereo systems I had been reading about. The accent was distinctive but hard to place, I looked around but saw no one. I noticed the back of the black leatherette chair, it was slowly turning towards me. Then right before my eyes there he was, painfully thin and gaunt, a few strands of white hair fell from the top of his head to below his chin. His complexion had a slight gray pallor like the skin of a dead Komodo Dragon. But it was his eyes that were the most arresting. Flickering flames that moved swiftly behind his eyelids. I remember thinking “It’s not for me but it’s a look”. Determined to keep my fear hidden from the horror before me I maintained eye contact and properly introduced myself. “Unt I am Dr. Nomed I vish to velcome you to our humble vacility vhere vee vill take goot care ov you” As it spoke it extended it’s hand, the skin like damp translucent paper clinging to a  tangle of dark veins and bones. It was frail and skeletal with long thin fingers but it was the nails that struck me the most. They were incredibly long but impeccably manicured. I shook the lifeless thing and remembered how often my father told me of how important a good firm handshake was and he was right. It conveys confidence and strength. It surprises me to this day how many people don’t know this. They offer up a clammy dead fish of a handshake unaware of how revolting others find it, and this thing I was holding was no exception. It’s hand slid out of mine like a dying reptile and to my revulsion, leaving one of it’s razor sharp fingernails behind.

 I averted my eyes for a mere second to watch a fat housefly buzzing about a foot or so away. Then without warning and with the speed and accuracy of a chameleon, the creature before me shot out its tongue, grabbed the fly and snapped it all back into its mouth before I could blink. “Oh Puhleeese,” I said, rolling my eyes before shooting my own tongue out a good six feet in front of me, rearranging the desk, organizing the mess of papers into a neat stack, putingt the caps back on all the pens and adjusting the clock to the correct time – then snapping my tongue back behind my lips in half the time it took the beast to swallow a fly – I have skills and it noticed. “Impressive vor a parlour trick but I know you veeeeer me unt dis veeeeer you haff only makes me stronkar” kicking the chair out from under me I stood up, fear you? I don’t think so, I know what you are even your name gives you away “Nomed” are you kidding me? It’s Demon spelled backwards, you have no power over me. As I spoke thick ram like horns sprouted from the thing's forehead and coiled like snakes at each side of it’s ungodly noggin. It’s eyes now a blazing fire, it hissed at me  “Mein Herze Schwimmt un Blut!”   

All that means is "My heart swims in blood" big deal I said. It’s from an ancient Germanic curse that Johan Bach based an Opera on of the same name in 1714. It looked puzzled by my unexpected brilliance but it was furious as it spun its head around and around vomiting green bile through it’s rotted yellow teeth “Your mother bakes bagels in hell!” It shouted -  Oh no you didn’t ! I shouted back, it was on now! demon or no demon. I reached into my canvass bag and pulled out my bottle Versace Pour Homme and like a priest shaking a bottle of Holy Water I anointed the foul thing with what had become my new signature fragrance. The thing hissed something in Latin and I was lifted from the floor, my arms outstretched, unable to move – suspended in mid-air. I remember thinking “This can’t be good” just before I was hurled across the great room at supernatural speed and slammed into a solid stone wall. Collapsing on impact like a marionette with suddenly severed strings.

My vision was blurry but I could see the evil thing had risen from its leatherette throne, it was moving towards me, it’s hoven feet a foot or more above the floor. Frantic to find something to use as a weapon I looked all around me and to my complete delight what do I find?  my red castanets! they had been in the pocket of my Kimono style jacket, the one I wear to my Geisha lessons. I didn’t know how they got there or why, I didn’t care – seeing them was like seeing an old friend. My hand still held that disgusting fingernail, disgusting yes, but razor sharp just like my mind. With the awesome power of every sewing lesson I ever took behind me, I used the fingernail to shred my beloved Kimono jacket into seven distinct and beautiful veils “ir vet keynmol makhn an ander dimer!aoyb ikh endikn meyn tantsn!” ” I screamed – it’s Yiddish for “you’ll never make another dime after I finish this dance! “ Again I screamed at the hellish thing  “Ir vet kynmol makhn ander dimer!aoyb ikh endikn meyn tantsn!” 

It recoiled and with lightning speed flew backward into a corner where it remained hissing like a rabid cobra and spewing green bile from its hideous mouth. I put on my veils with great care and greater speed, paying special attention to seventh veil, the one that began beneath my sparkling emerald green eyes. Castanets in hand, already clicking and clacking for the Forbidden Dance of The Seven Veils had begun!. I spun and twirled with the speed of a turbo charged Dradel, moving across the floor in wildly ornate patterns yet with pinpoint laser accuracy “Ir vet kynmol makhn ander dimer!aoyb ikh endikn meyn tantsn!” I shrieked, plucking off the first of the seven veils, tossing it at the vile thing and watching it burn into it’s putrid skin as I spun faster and faster for I had become a human Dradel of superhuman speed - not to mention my now remaining six forbidden veils – I stood there, towering over the demon that had taunted me so long but now the tables had changed and it trembled before me. All of a sudden and for only a brief moment the world had stopped spinning. A fog had blinded everything and as quickly as it appeared it was gone. Laying on the floor was a doctor in a white lab coat, he was shaken but not so much that couldn’t extend his hand to me and I helped him up and kept my hands on his shoulders to steady him. What happened he asked as I bent down to pick up his glasses, handing them over I told him I wasn’t sure, because I wasn’t. The cavernous cave of a room was now just an ordinary office. The endless ceiling now a cheap drop ceiling with awful fluorescent lighting. 

And then he spoke, reminding me of his considered opinion that chemotherapy is not recommended for stage one colon cancer. And the warning followed when he told me again that when the tumor was high grade like mine the chance of reoccurrence is high. I needed blood work every three months to keep an eye on CEA levels, CT scans were important and a colonoscopy was too so the surgeon's handiwork could be checked carefully for even the tiniest imperfection. How easily I could live with this news I told him I was so afraid but that now, even if I was to need chemo sometime down the road I would face it head on and be brave. Brave he asked me, why you weren’t afraid of me were you? Afraid? I replied, don’t be ridiculous – of course not, we shook hands, I made my follow appointment and got my parking ticket validated. I waved goodbye to the nurses, snapped my castanets over my head while doing a quick spin around and I left the building. The lot was full of cars now, it wasn’t desolate and empty like before. There was no moat to cross or draw bridge, that was gone to. The castle was as ordinary and nondescript as the rest of the buildings I had appointments in. And I thought about the terror I had felt and the horror I faced and somewhere deep inside even despite the wonderful news I had just received I was a kind of sad and just a little bit heartbroken. 

I handed my ticket to the little man in the tiny booth and he pulled the lever to raise the bar so I could pass through. Bundle up that hump I said you don’t to catch a cold, sure don’t he said with a big toothless smile, I slipped him a five and drove on. 

Sean's voice filled the car “How did it go” No Chemo I said, we can exhale now.”I’m sorry you know, I wanted to be there, was it as scary as you thought it would be I thought about telling him the truth but decided to lie instead. I wasn’t scared at all, it was a piece of cake. oh, and guess what, I found my castanets! I heard him groan before suggesting we celebrate, maybe grab a bite to eat. That sounds good I told him but I’ll be a little late getting home I have a stop to make. Where he asked, I told him the truth this time. I told him that I’m done with fighting, I’ve slain enough dragons and fought enough monsters, so I’m going to see Max maybe we can hug it out and then I’ll be home. 

He laughed and said “Life with you isn’t easy” well, of course it isn’t but you stayed anyway. And that was the greatest compliment of all. He has the heart of a lion. See you soon, love you and we hung up. It was dusk and the world had the most beautiful golden glow and it was everywhere. I put my window down to feel the winter air and let the icy cold sting my face. It sure felt good to be alive and then I thought about Max – she was small but she was scrappy, she had a mean right hook too and I had the swollen lip to prove it.

Canadian Sandy's picture
Canadian Sandy
Posts: 442
Joined: Jul 2016

Lol.....what an interesting story. I’m just waiting now for one about doing the prep for a colonoscopy! That is a real nightmare. haha

Peter_S's picture
Posts: 260
Joined: Oct 2018

They can't all be Gems :-)

Kazenmax's picture
Posts: 226
Joined: Feb 2016

you are the champ! Keep your left up! Like the guy says...You’re gonna eat lightnin and you’re gonna crap thunder!


Peter_S's picture
Posts: 260
Joined: Oct 2018

Kaz, I love that you always have kind word of support, I feel lucky and blessed. Thank You, it means so much. Peter

Posts: 33
Joined: Sep 2017

It is so good to hear that you will not need chemo at this time.  Just continue to follow up with scopes and scans and following the healthy lifestyle.  Keep up eating well and exercising and who knows, your diabetes may be able to be controlled!

I just had a colonoscopy three years after my diagnosis.  As I said in another post on the board, I worried myself silly about it for no reason!  


Peter_S's picture
Posts: 260
Joined: Oct 2018

Thanks for the great post, you're wonderful. I was so scared of Chemo so it's a huge relife. But I think now that I know more about it, if my cancer comes back I'll be able to face it with far less fear thanks to this forum and a few very special doctors and nurses. I'm thrilled for you and the great results of your recent colonoscopy, I'll be having one soon but this is to check the resections the surgeon made, and then after a year I'll have another for the traditional reasons and bloodwork/scans every three months - the worrying is AWFUL but how can we not? I'm glad you can exhale now and rejoyce in your well deserved great health, may it last forever. Peter

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3297
Joined: Jan 2010

You made it past the fear of the unknown, and its associated monsters!  So glad for the good news.

Your imagery strikes a cord with all of us, the darkness, the coldness, the fear that we all know but are far less eloquent expressing.

Now that you have a few weeks free of appointments, give us some spring scenes with flowers and sunshine!  I need it bad as shoveling 8 inches of snow today really put a damper on my mood...lol...oh yea, they are calling for 8 more inches the end of this week too!

We each share our strenght with each other, and make one hell of a team....should be a Super Bowl for Survivors!

Hugs and happiness...

Marie who loves kitties

KarenMG's picture
Posts: 103
Joined: Jun 2017

What did I just read? Ha ha

Seriously, I have no idea, I must be on some really good drugs these days...

Down the rabbit hole I go!


Ruthmomto4's picture
Posts: 587
Joined: May 2013

you remind so much of my friend, he has the same way of looking at things. So happy no chemo is the best news ever! Enjoy! Please don’t disappear, check in now and then! 

Subscribe to Comments for "                                   The Oncologist & The Terror  "