Like an obedient puppy, I obey. I know the routine. The black Acer screen beckons me with its cancerous finger. I forget my password. I don't want to appear a fool so I try to reset it. An older gentleman clad in the gayly coloured lemon-yellow volunteer's smock with the cancer society logo on the pocket, appears from nowhere. I confess I have forgotten my password. Six months is a long time and my cerebral hard-drive contains 15 or 20 other passwords.
"What year were you born?" asks the kindly volunteer.
A rather personal question, I think. Then I remember nothing is hidden at the cancer clinic. 1956. I punch it into the keyboard. Bingo. It works. I answer all the required questions. Eventually the printer spits out the completed page and I clutch it to my chest.
As I take my seat, I see a woman about my age, holding a beautiful, ebony-haired toddler. Grandma - perhaps? The mother hangs on to the empty stroller and positions herself three seats over from where I sit. She chooses the pink chair.
Dear God, I find myself thinking. Don't let her be the one with cancer.
I do not want the Grandma to be the reason they are at the clinic today, either. But my heart was heavy lest it be the young mother of that beautiful little boy.
Soon the dreaded sound of my pager buzzing brings me back to reality and Kay, the nurse, catches my eye. She greets me in her usual, professional and friendly manner. She settles me into the sterile exmination room and asks me for my completed questionnaire. We speak for a while. She documents my concerns and tucks them into the file.
"Doctor S will be in to see you in a while," she smiles.
She hands me my less than glamorous hospital gown before she leaves and tells me to take my time because Dr. S is busy today. I wait. I dig into my red, Write! Canada bag stuffed with papers, my camera, a writer's magazine, my agenda and a notebook. I don't know what to do first.
My brain plays tricks.
Your cancer is back! Your cancer is back! The enemy has a heyday.
I pull out my Fellowscript magazine and start to read. I smile when I see the article written by Marcy Kennedy and Lisa Hall-Wilson - TWG members, on co-writing an article. I remember the listserve discussions on this subject a while ago. I flip through and read articles by more TWG authors. I suddenly feel like the prayer team is with me today - although I didn't tell them I was coming.
Then I think how hesitant I was telling my family about what I would share today. The enemy prods me again - ...the sin of ommission is lying...so you lied to your family...what kind of wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend are you?
I hear the footsteps. The door opens and Dr. S enters..