After finding our way from the parkade to the registration desk and being issued the red and white Cross Cancer Institute ID card that I’m supposed to show each time I enter the facility, we started our first day there with a new patient orientation session. In my mind’s eye, I had visualized us sitting in a classroom with several other brand new shocked and bewildered patients listening to someone give us an overview of how things work at the Cross. Instead, the two of us sat on a comfy couch in a cozy corner of the patient library and chatted with a volunteer, a colon cancer survivor who was treated at the Cross about 15 years ago. He shared a little of his own experience, told us about the services and resources that are available to patients and their families, gave us excellent suggestions about dealing with the practical and emotional challenges of living with cancer and encouraged us to take an active role in my care.
Of all the many volunteers who perform this service, God sent us Gar! About mid way through his presentation, while telling us about the psychosocial and spiritual resources that are available, he made this comment, “People have many different ways of dealing with cancer but I just put mine in the hands of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!” I replied with a resounding “Amen!” Gar was one of us and God had put him right where we needed him when we needed him there.
Following our chat, Gar took us on a tour of the facility making sure that he clearly pointed out the various places that I’d need to return to later. By the time we hugged and said good-bye, we felt much more at ease.
After a quick bite to eat, it was time for our first visit to the Nuclear Medicine department where I received my mIBG injection. This was the first of two injections of radioactive drugs that will aid in determining the extent to which my cancer has spread. Tomorrow, I’ll return for a full body scan, which will involve lying perfectly still for up to an hour, followed by the injection of the second drug.
A visit to the lab, where blood was taken, brought today’s appointments to an end. Over the four weeks since this journey started, I’ve been poked numerous times including three tries to get an IV started the day I had my colonoscopy. I must say that the gals at the Cross have been the gentlest so far. I hardly felt the two needles that entered my arms today!
Before we left the Cross this afternoon, we visited the gift shop where we stocked up on used books for $1.00 apiece and then headed out into the sunshine to find the geocache that’s hidden on the hospital property! It was placed there in April 2010 by a young geocacher who wanted to honour his twin sister, a breast cancer patient at the Cross.
I was pretty tired this afternoon, probably just a response to the emotional overload of getting this far, but after resting a bit and enjoying the first meal our youngest son has ever cooked for us, I’m recharged and ready to go back again tomorrow.