So it happened, nearly 3 months post chemo, I got my first cold/strep throat. I had a slight panic of, do I call my oncologist, monitor for a fever every hour, and hydrate like it’s my only job. Honestly, I kind of wish I had to call my oncologist. My oncologist office would have instructed me on exactly what I needed to do. That’s the best part of cancer, you don’t think about a whole lot, you just show up to whatever they tell you to do.
Friday night I started not felling the best. Chills, sore throat, aches… yep it sucked. I even remember saying to my husband, “should I call the oncologist’s office.” To which he replied, “I don’t think that is a thing to do 3 months post chemo. I think you are looking at a minute clinic.” How in the world have I been reduced to a minute clinic I thought? Oh wait, that’s what everyone else does that doesn’t have cancer. Startling! In the middle of chemo when I got a cold I went downhill so fast in a matter of 8 hours I was hospitalized for 4 days. So the thought of a minute clinic/urgent care was almost appalling to me.
With a temperature of 101.7 I resisted the urge to call my oncologist. I downed some Nyquil like any other sane person would do, while gagging mid-way through because who really likes the taste of Nyquil?! And then I slept, woke up, drank some more water, then slept some more. Saturday morning was upon me and the girls had picture day at the soccer fields and games. Luckily, I have the best husband in this entire world and he took care of getting the girls to the fields for pictures an hour before their games started. All I had to do was show up for the games.
If you know me, I am not missing a single game for either of my girls. I only missed one game of basketball for my oldest during chemo and not a single soccer game for either of my girls during chemo. I was NOT about to miss over a stupid cold! I threw the wig to the side, grabbed a baseball cap, no makeup, sunglasses, and hauled myself to those games. I would have been pissed if I had missed the games, as my oldest scored SIX GOALS in her game!!!! I was the proudest mom of no makeup, baseball cap on, leggings, and comfy t-shirt apparel, cheering mom of a soccer star you have ever seen!!! I didn’t care who saw me, I was totally like, “that’s my kid, did you see her score 6 goals?!!!!”
After those two games I looked at my husband and said, “I am heading to the minute clinic.” To which he replied, “I’ve got this.” (Probably the sexist thing he could have ever said to me at that moment.) I arrived at the Minute Clinic only to realize the doctor was out to lunch and I would have to wait 15 minutes. I painfully checked in on their touch screen to which I thought, why is there not a keyboard attached to this thing. Then, I realized others could check in from home before me. What kind of fresh hell was this? Three months ago I could have called the oncologist and been rushed to the front of the line… not so much now.
The lady next to me. Oh lord have mercy on soul, the lady sitting next to me. She wanted to chat with me. I did not want to chat with her. My throat hurt. I wasn’t feeling good. Why was she still talking to me? She thought the chairs were super comfortable. Literally the chairs were plastic, hard, stiff, and they were NOT comfortable!!!! I was staring at my phone, not trying to make eye contact with her, minding my own business but yet she was still talking to me. She was there to get the flu shot, because she had the flu last year and didn’t want it again this year. Even with me telling her I thought I had strep didn’t stop her from talking to me. I think I learned her life story in a matter of twenty minutes.
Finally, the doctor called me back! Hooray! I then entered a room that felt like a meat freezer. The doctor asked me an array of questions to which I interjected that I was 3 months post chemo. I thought this would guarantee me better treatment. He swabbed my throat, set it in the test tube. I almost thought about taking a picture of it, but realized this wasn’t part of the cancer journey and stopped myself. It came back negative and he asked me if I thought he should send it off for a culture to which I replied, YES! I mean I am dying over here with this cold and all, I need some justification! I’ve handled chemo and this cold has me in bed with the covers up over my head, of course you should send this off for a culture!
The doctor wraps things up and prints off my papers. What he doesn’t do is write me a script for medicine. No antibiotics. No special treatment. Waste of my time when I could have been in bed. It’s as if he dismissed that I had cancer and chemo!!! There was no red carpet treatment. It’s what I had longed for, to blend in, to have my life before cancer back. It kind of sucked, on the medical treatment side, it just sucked. It was humbling for sure. I was reduced to the normal cold, I almost felt like I had a man cold, it was so normal, like was I overreacting?!
I headed home, spent the rest of the evening under the covers, convinced this was the end. Morning broke and I felt more human than I did the day before. I realized at that point a cold could literally kick my rear-end, no red carpet was going to be rolled out for me, minute clinics will be in my realm of normal, and life was grand! Oh and I had grocery shopping that no one accomplished the day prior, laundry, and two more soccer games to catch! I wouldn’t wish for any other life, this one is all mine, minute clinics and all!