To recap, found a lump. Saw my doctor. Took medicine. Got better. Then got hurt. Then saw a new doctor who only wanted me to see another doctor.
My appointment was in the evening. It was already dark, and rainy. The office was on the other side of town from where I lived. As I pulled up on the address, the sign on the front lawn had the doctor’s name under big letters, HEMATOLOGY. At the age of 22, I had never heard of “hematology” before, although gave it some thought that it could be a specialty in sports medicine. So, without giving it any more thought, I went inside.
Funny, I saw an elderly woman, and a few other adults much older than me. But hardly anyone would fit the description of being an athlete or having any kind of sports related injury. Again, totally naive.
My name was called, and I was led back to an office. I was expecting an exam room, but figured the other doctor had spelled out enough about my injury, and this doctor was just going to talk to me about options for my shoulder.
In walked the doctor, best described as looking like actor Jeff Goldbloom, just as tall too, though everyone pretty much is tall compared to me. He walked around his desk and sat down. Without even a shake of my hand, he looked down at the folder in front of him, then looked up at me.
“Hodgkin’s Disease is one of the most curable cancers…”
I honestly do not recall the rest of the immediate conversation because I really believed he had the wrong patient. I was here for a sports injury, not cancer.
I gathered my focus, and he was still talking about cancer. And he was directing it at me.
Well, all of a sudden, it was not Jeff Goldbloom I saw anymore, it was the Brundle Fly. And I was now experiencing worse than denial, because not only did I think the doctor was talking to the wrong patient, he had not even let me interrupt to tell him why I was really there. My blood began to boil.
Okay, so I did not flip his desk over. But I wanted to.
“DOC!! Stop!! You have the wrong patient!!! I am here for a sports injury. I hurt myself training. I am not here for cancer.”
He just sat there looking at me, confused as I was, and yet, resumed his cancer lecture with me. He told me how important that it was that I begin treatment as soon as possible. Hodgkin’s treatments are most successful when the cancer is caught early enough.
I just sank in the chair because I just could not get through to him. I DID NOT HAVE CANCER!! I mean, what the hell! He did not even examine me. How the hell is he diagnosing me with something that will kill me. I hurt my fucking arm!!!! I don’t have cancer.
And then he said this to me, and it is one thing that every Hodgkin’s patient HATES, and I do mean HATES to hear, “the good news is, if you are going to get a cancer, this is the one to get.”
I got up from my chair, swung his office door open that it banged into the wall, and stormed out. Got into my car and sped off. He would never see me again. And as for the doctor that referred me to him, when I got home, I looked up the word “hematology” in the dictionary, for you kids reading this, we did not have Google or Wikipedia back then. “Hema” means blood, and of course “ology” would be the study of. Hodgkin’s Disease, now called Lymphoma is a blood cancer. Why would that doctor send me to blood doctor? I screwed up my shoulder. I was done with that doctor too.
Or so I thought.