Where Are We?
We start our journey here feeling several emotions. Anxiety for what lies ahead of us as this is our first visit. Fear for what we will be told. Anything that will stand in the way of making us late, such as traffic or construction, since we will be traveling into the city to get here.
As you make the left turn onto Centre Avenue, you know you have arrived. Breathe a sigh of relief. Pull into the rotunda. A valet will greet you and give you a ticket and park your car. Stop and pause at the beautiful statues holding hands dancing in a circle.
Enter through the huge circular walkthrough. We are new and a volunteer escorts us to the third floor and hands us a red folder. She seats us in area B. We wait and wait. Half an hour, then an hour, another half hour. While we are waiting, our minds race. Did they forget about us? Are we doing this right? Should we say something? We wait due to the volunteer failing to tell us to place our red folder in the wire basket by the receptionist’s station. When this is finally realized, they take our red folder and we wait some more. When the physician assistant calls us, she calls us by the wrong name so we wait some more.
While we wait, we see that there are all ages here: Young, middle aged, old. Some in the beginning like us, some who are in the thick of their battle, in walkers, in wheelchairs. No one is alone. We all have support systems with us. We try to be distracted by the television but we all know why we are here. We all look at one another and wonder who is the one affected and how badly. One entire family: Mom, dad and the two daughters. Several women seated together. A husband and his wife. My brother and myself. Although we are strangers, we have several things in common. We have cancer. We are all afraid. And we pray.
We are at Hillman Cancer Center. We are strong. We survive.