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I Love My Oncology Team, But I Hope Never to See Them Again

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I’ve got an unusual, almost weird relationship with these people. Usually, when I meet people I like so much, I ask them their spouses’ names, ask them about themselves, even ask them over for dinner. But “these people” are my oncologist and his team in the infusion room where I get my chemo. I alternate between wanting to know them better and wanting never to see them again. Like I said, it’s weird.

As a group, they are very, very smart. They are all good listeners. They are also good communicators. They are all extremely competent at their part of what they do for me. They work well as a team, something I always admire when I see it in any organization. These qualities stem, I’m sure, from the captain of the team, my oncologist. He possesses all of those qualities too, and I’m sure he hires those who have them. It’s a lot easier to describe a group of people who work this way together than it is to create that type of working environment, so I know there is time well-spent on team-building. I admire all of this.

Every interaction with every member of this team is competent and efficient. And, on time. The patient (me) is a baton in the smooth relay of services they provide me on chemo days. From the technician who takes my weight and temperature when I arrive each chemo day, to the nurse who is assigned to give me my pre-chemo meds, the chemo itself, and bandage my port at the end of the infusions that day, I am extremely well-cared-for. It’s a treat to find a group of people who take such good care of me, and ordinarily I’d be trying to get to know some of them better. But then the truth of our relationship hits me.

From what I’m told, once I’m done with all my treatment for breast cancer, I’ll have a lifetime relationship with my oncologist. I’ll be coming back for check-ups on a regular basis, and maybe over the years I’ll get around to asking him those questions I mentioned above. I’m happy I’ll continue to be examined here; it means I’ll not sever my bonds to this group of people completely. I can stick my head into the infusion room when I have those check-ups to see the people I know. But it will be with a certain amount of wistfulness that I never got to know any of them better.

Because the truth is that I cannot wait not see them every week! (I cannot wait for chemo to end!)

Thinkstock image by KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Originally published: May 1, 2017
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