It was August 2, 2013 that I received my initial diagnosis that I had a synovial sarcoma behind my knee. I was sitting in an exam room with my orthopedic surgeon as he explained what was about to happen. Prior to this meeting he arranged for me to meet my oncologist and radiologist. As one doctor would walk out the door another one would walk in. It was like I was on a new game show called “Who’s your Doctor.” Behind door number one my oncologist; door number two my radiologist; and finally door number three my orthopedic surgeon.
It was my first time meeting all of them and I didn’t really know what to say or ask them. Little did they know that a couple months down the road I would be joking and laughing with them at appointments. I spent over an hour listening to each of them come in one at a time to talk about chemo, ports, radiation, surgery, and everything else. I surprisingly didn’t have that deer in the headlights look because I was familiar with all of this information thanks to a fellow sarcoma friend.
After they all were done talking, I started to get up to leave when the mystery person behind door number 4 walked into the room. It was a psychologist dressed in her lab coat. I took one look at her and thought you have got to be kidding me. I was asked if I would like to share my thoughts and feelings about this “horrible news”. Then she gave me the “concerned” look and pulled out a piece of paper and explained she would keep me for another 45 minutes. Quickly jumping to my feet I said I wasn’t interested in talking about my feelings today and would like to leave. I made an appointment to see her at another time and canceled it. My oncologist still talks about the look on my face when she walked into the room.
The best reaction from a person I ever got goes to my Granny. When we called her on the way home to tell her the new she just said, “shit” and nothing else. To this day I can’t stop laughing because everyone takes bad news different. There are the people who think the environment or something processed in our diets caused it. There are the people who start sobbing and you think, wait why and I comforting you about my bad news? There was someone who thought I caught it from a friend who also has a sarcoma. There are some that after hearing your news awkwardly stare at the floor or just stare at you for a long time. If I get that reaction I usually just pretend to tap a pretend microphone and say, “Is this thing on?” These are just some of the many reactions I have gotten from people.
After that initial diagnosis appointment, I thought those doctors had no idea what they were in for. I planned not to be the average cancer patient and decided that I needed to make my doctors laugh as much as possible. These individuals deal with giving bad news to patients on a regular basis and needed someone who wouldn’t always be cranky towards them. I didn’t plan to constantly walk around the cancer center with a huge smile planted on my face and giving a pageant wave to everyone who walked by. I save that for when I am riding the back of a golf cart at camp. That wasn’t me at all. I instead stayed positive about everything by cracking jokes with a straight face and making people laugh. I have learned over the years that laughter is the best medicine and if that doesn’t work there is always morphine.