Follow Up

Dawn was just beginning to break as I got out of bed. Sleep had been scarce, and I needed a shower to get me going. I took a deep breath to help calm my thoughts.

It has been 40 days since Tom’s last doctor appointment. I hadn’t really counted until today.

Today he gets a follow up PET/CT scan.

The first one since completing chemotherapy and radiation. The one that tells us how well things worked.

I’m glad to say he looks better, feels better and seems more like his old self. But then he looked great, felt good and was himself before all this started.

I close my eyes in the shower and use the water as a meditation. I visualize the water carrying away any worry, negativity or other energy that I don’t need. The water is hot, and my body starts to relax as my thoughts settle down.

He is sitting at the kitchen table with a glass of water when I come out of the bedroom. He takes a sip and the look on his face leaves no doubt that he would prefer his usual coffee. He can only drink water before his test today.

A smile lights up his eyes when he sees me watching him. Even when he was at his worst there was still that light in his eyes when he smiled. Sometimes he was too sick to muster up a smile but when he did it was worth it.

Fortunately, his appointment was early in the morning and the promise of breakfast afterward was motivating enough to get us out the door ahead of schedule. We didn’t talk much as he navigated rush hour traffic.

Since his scan was at the radiologist’s office it was an all too familiar route this morning. We had done this drive every weekday for 6 weeks during his treatment. I had to remind myself to breathe as we got closer.

There is an upfront parking spot available when we arrive. Tom pulls in and turns off the truck, his hands lingering on the steering wheel as he lets out a deep breath. I sit quietly to give him a moment.

He looks over at me and I see just a flash of uncertainty before it is replaced with a smile. The light is back.

Nothing has changed in the waiting room. The same shows are on the television and the energy is still stifling. The only thing that has changed are the patients.

We get seats with a view of the tv and I wrap my arm through his just to be closer. I still get scared sometimes and touching him soothes my nerves.

The room is full already and we wait just long enough to have an opinion about the house they are remodeling before his name is called. I watch as he strides easily across the room and greets the nurse with a friendly hello.

As he disappears behind the door my heart skips a beat. He’s been through enough, it’s time for this to be over.

We get the test results in 8 days.

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