More Than A Doctor - In the most awesome brotherly love, not as a doctor, but as a friend.
I was diagnosed on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. My boyfriend, Christian and I had planned on doing some Cinco de Mayo celebrating that day. Street style corn, nachos and Mexican Cokes for lunch. My appointment was scheduled for Friday, but I was so uncomfortable I called my doctor.
When we arrived, we didn’t have to wait long. Dr. Babak Rad was waiting for us. We walked into his office and sat. I’m sure it was minutes, but it felt like hours. I have to say that Dr. Rad is a kind man, very in tune with his patients, but also very direct; there is no sugar coating.
He pulled up my chart on his computer, looked over at me, and took a deep breath. “You have anal cancer”. He didn’t say anything else for a moment. Giving me time to let it soak in. I looked over at Christian and he held me with his eyes.
When the sting had passed. Imagine stepping on a thumbtack. It hurts for a bit, you can still walk, but you know exactly where the tack got you. That’s the feeling. Even as I’m typing this I can feel the prick of the tack. Except now it’s in my heart forever.
I broke into the conversation and asked, “What do we do next?” They both stopped talking and looked at me. Dr. Rad looked at me and said, “I suggest chemo and radiation”. Again, I knew the terms, but they were so foreign at the moment.
I had been living with HIV for 14 years at the time. Have had several health issues over the years. I knew cancer could happen to anyone. There is no history of cancer in my family. I make the joke that I’m an overachiever and want to do everything first. Careful what you ask for.
My next question, “When do we start?” Dr. Rad looked at me and knew we were on the same page. Let’s tackle this. Let’s kick cancer’s ass, literally. If you have been diagnosed with cancer you know that moment you feel alone. I felt so alone.
When I looked up, Dr. Rad was standing in front of me. He put his hand on my shoulder and in a very low voice said, “Look at me”. I didn’t look up, he said it again, a bit louder, “Look. At. Me.” I let out a sigh. He said it a third time. “LOOK AT ME!”.
I finally looked up and he was staring in my eyes and in the most awesome brotherly love, not as a doctor, but as a friend, he said, “We got this”. He said we, not you or me, ‘WE’. I nodded and let more tears roll. I was crying but wanted to stop.
I knew then that I was in good hands. I felt Christian reach over and hold my hands. I knew that this was still a journey I would do alone, but I wasn’t lonely. I would walk through that tunnel by myself, but I had a cheering crew waiting at the end.
Four years later, I am in remission. I haven’t seen Dr. Rad in 2 years. Once I was given the ‘all good’ our sessions were done. Safe to say, I miss Dr. Bobby Rad. We had a good thing going and Christian knows that he’s not jealous.
My agoraphobia was triggered during the recoup time. Anxiety and panic attacks are a regular occurrence for me. Usually, I’m alone and do my best to calm down. When Christian is around, he knows what to say to bring me down, ‘We got this’.
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