The research assistant on the clinical trial, the nurse and the surgeon all said to me this morning, "it's going quickly, isn't it?" Yes, it's the third anniversary of my surgery for early stage breast cancer, and this morning I sailed through the annual mammogram, ultrasound and examination with Suzanne with flying colours. It was good to see the very reassuring initials NAD (nothing abnormal detected) going onto my files and x-ray reports.
But is it going quickly? Not really. Not when you examine every day closely as it goes by, as I do these days. This doesn't mean I always make the best use of a day: I rarely feel that. But I certainly do notice them as they pass.
One of the lovely things for me about this practice is the sense of these teams of women working so well together (surgeons, nurses, radiologists, receptionists, researchers). I did see Mitchell, my oncologist, striding into the waiting room to meet a woman wearing a long scarf — I think they adminster the chemotherapy in this clinic, too — but everyone who attended me today was a woman. It's peaceful there. No televisions, no piped music, just magazines, comfortable couches and white towelling robes to wear while you wait. Women come and go, and although there's always a level of anxiety on our faces, it's calm. We are being attended by kindly, efficient and skilled women who know exactly what they are doing, how best to manage our visit and our health. For a place that is closely associated with a deadly disease, it's remarkably serene.