I’m Not a Statistic

NaplesSUNSET(words & image by sandie rossini)

You should always get a second opinion. I suppose that’s true. My gut is usually right but I do like to hear other opinions when it comes to… basically anything. That was most definitely true when it came to choosing my doctor and the hospital where I would be receiving my chemotherapy and radiation treatment following my surgery. I probably wasn’t thinking clearly, I mean I just had BRAIN surgery after all so I took the advice of my family members and went to the hospital just across the street from where I had my surgery and saw another doctor. The two hospitals were actually connected and shared information and research but it felt like I was entering a different planet. It didn’t help that I felt horrible that day. I was still recovering from surgery and I had a painful, throbbing headache that made it hard to see. I felt nauseous and couldn’t eat and I also was too weak to walk so I sat in a wheelchair. I was angry, very angry. As I sat in a torture chamber I was forced to listen to a screeching loud noise that sounded like someone’s nails on a chalkboard. I was then wheeled down a dark corridor and forced to wait for hours and had to listen to loud clicking noises and had to answer endless questions. After that I was then wheeled into a small room and surrounded by many men who then asked me more questions, which I was forced to answer. Then we waited, and we waited for an hour and then another hour. I demanded that someone wheel me out of the room but no one would. I had enough. I had made up my mind before we even met the doctor but I tried to give this place a chance but I was done, I couldn’t take another second of- then suddenly the doctor walked in casually. So I stopped my negative thinking. I gave him a clean slate. I began to understand that the screeching noise in the lobby may have been a young lady playing a harp to relax patients, the questions were probably reasonable and the clicking was most likely keyboards, my anger was most likely caused by the steroids that I was on to heal the swelling in my brain, the headaches and pain- well that was from my surgery and I shouldn’t be taking it out on this hospital that didn’t seem so dark now that I looked around. So I took a deep breath and said hello and shook this doctor’s hand. Unfortunately, he blew it. He began with the “at the most 5 years” speech and that’s when he lost me. That’s not what I wanted in a doctor. You see MY doctor needed to understand that I am NOT a statistic and that I was going to BEAT the odds. So yes, use your numbers, get the facts, do the math, the science and get me the best treatment out there but understand this- don’t ever tell me how long I will live because YOU sir, do not know that information. No one knows that. The doctor I chose- was my doctor from the start. I had a team of doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. My surgeon was a superhero who performed a miracle & removed the monster in my head, my Radiologist beamed positivity into my soul and my Oncologist is brilliant & continues to shield me from the evil of cancer to this day- and I can tell you that I’m positive I made the right choice. My doctor has always told me that I am NOT a statistic.

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Runaway Home

TrainStationby sandie rossini: 6.10.14

I used to take the train by myself from Boston to New Jersey when I was in college and I loved it. I loved staring out the window and watching the world go by, one town or city at a time. I listened to music through my Walkman and daydreamed. I loved that time alone and I was able to block out all of the other passengers. This wasn’t a pushy and crowded commuter rail, it was a passenger train taking me home and most of the time it wasn’t crowded at all. It felt good to come home and when I see a train or hear the whistle blow it makes me want to run away home.

Take Me Home

CitgoSign(written by sandie rossini: 1.24.16)

The Citgo sign is a landmark in Boston and I used to associate it with Fenway Park but now it means something different to me. It’s what I see when I’m leaving the hospital. Now while I’m super appreciative of the hospital, the staff and everything I get done there to make me better- I REALLY appreciate going home. When we leave we always go the same way. When we come to a certain spot on Brookline Ave and I see that Citgo sign, I feel relief. I made it through another appointment and now my reward is going home to see my babies. When I see that sign I can breathe again. At that point I look over at my caring husband and feel so grateful for everything that I have, including him. Then he takes me home.