Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Great medical service in new city
My daughter is ten years post chemo, a fact for which we are grateful every day. Yet we are not naive enough to think this journey may be without its longer term effects. On Monday we went for her annual, long -term survivor clinic visit- our first in Calgary. I was feeling a bit alone as usually my mother or my husband came along and somehow I felt that if I heard bad news it might be better if shared. But this time, it was just the two of us.
Although she underwent her treatment in Calgary, we were meeting new staff at a new location. Prior to the visit the clinic had mailed us a detailed questionnaire.That was impressive as we have never done that before and the questions probed health areas I had had questions about in the past.
Her heart tests went quickly and efficiently with staff who were kind and very conscious of a preteen girl's privacy. Somehow they seem to get it right at a children's hospital.
We met an engaging oncologist who breezed into the room and sat down to chat so she could get to know us. I had the distinct impression that this was heartfelt. She had that same compassionate manner the oncologists we had dealt with during our time living in hospital, so I was not surprised to hear she was personal friends with the doctors we adored who had gotten us over some terrifying times.
When she glanced at the questionnaire she said oh I see that you have checked off that side effect. I stared blankly at her, saying is that a chemo side effect? She said oh yes, we see that all the time. I immediately felt my eyes start to burn with unshed tears as we had invested much time and energy in the past years trying to determine a cause of this problem for my daughter. Unfortunately, we had been told it was only a short term effect. The oncologist said, "Oh I have a great book for you that we give all our families," and jumped up to get us a copy.
Right in the preface I read that our concern is a long term side effect of chemo. YesI felt relief, knowledge is always power. And I will try to let the regret go as we move forward knowing we are in excellent hands.