Well, back to work today after the weekend. I had a full schedule. I’ve also had to let more folks know about my health status as it is wreaking havoc with my work schedule. I see about 150 patients a year. I primarily do testing these days and a little counseling. This allows me to come home earlier in the day since kids I counsel need to come during the after school hours whereas I only need to see a kid a couple of times for testing so it is easier for them to miss some school. I have 16 assessments scheduled between now and the end of the summer. I would have more but I stopped scheduling people once I diagnosed. I usually have about a 6-10 week wait for an initial appointment but now I have a voice mail that says that there is at least a 4 month wait for an initial appointment. That’s cut down on the phone messages considerably as has telling my main referral sources that I have a four month wait. There are some folks who still want to see me because I was strongly recommended. While it is mostly flattering, I do feel a little bit of pressure to live up to “the hype,” especially given the wait. “You mean, I waited 4 months for this?” Okay, this doesn’t keep me up at nights but I do think about it a little.

Anyway, between the 16 kids I am assessing, the 8 ongoing counseling kids, and the parents of kids I’ve seen in the past that will contact me over the summer to reconnect, I’ll probably end up needing to discuss my health with about 30 families. A couple of the kids I see already have moms with serious medical conditions. I’m not sure how mine will fit into the mix. Sometimes, things I think will bother kids don’t and other times I am surprised by something I thought wasn’t a big deal, which throws a kid for a loop. In any event, counseling can be a very special relationship. I will try my best so that kids and parents don’t feel like they need to worry about me but there are limits to what I can do. I will focus on being as upbeat and optimistic as I can be. I am also hopeful that parents will model a positive attitude. I know that health issues scare a lot of people and sometimes people who are scared unintentionally spread their fear like a contagion. So far, most families have responded in very positive and hopeful ways. I’ve gotten a couple of responses that have raised my eyebrows. Fortunately, I feel pretty solid emotionally so I felt bemusement rather than distress.

On another note, I find myself waking up each morning thinking “I have cancer” not exactly in a distressed way (though these are not pleasant thoughts) but similar to the way I’ve experienced other changes in my status such as the first few weeks of being married (“I’m a wife”) or of being a mom (“I’m a parent”). I’ll keep the marriage and the kid but I hope to soon be able to get rid of the cancer.