Odd (Wo)MAN Out

Have you ever felt like you were the odd man out? I have often felt like I was a square peg trying to jam myself into a round hole. In school, I was a good student, too smart for the liking of some students (“teacher’s pet”) but not smart enough to fit in with the really “brainy” kids. I enjoyed participating in sports but I wasn’t particularly adept at them so I didn’t fit in with the “jocks”. I loved art, photography and drama, but I wasn’t quite “edgy” enough.

As a young wife, I found that I wasn’t materialistic enough to want to participate in the “must have to keep up with the Jones'” shopping gabfests that seemed to prevail amongst the wives of my husband’s co-workers. And don’t even get me started on small town gossip gaggles!

One  situation in which I particularly felt (and continue to feel) like the song from Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the others” was the times when I was sitting in hospital waiting rooms waiting to see the oncologist-urologist. I was only 45 years old when I was first diagnosed with bladder cancer. It was very disconcerting to go for scans and treatments only to find myself the only woman in a waiting room full of older middle-aged and elderly men! You see, the bulk of the oncologist-urologists case load seems to consist of treating men with prostate cancer.

The worst part was when the nurse would call me in to put on that very fashionable garment known as the hospital gown. You know, that cute little number that was designed by Dr. Seemore Butts? And then I would be led into another small waiting room, which I think was used as a meat locker in the off hours because it was freezing cold. So there I am, sans pantalons, (French for bare a**ed), shivering and covered with goosebumps and not a whole lot more, trying to make sure that my gown is covering my nether region because I don’t know how many other unfortunate slobs have sat bare butt on the same chair! Now, you might think that the situation couldn’t possibly get more uncomfortable or embarrassing BUT to add insult to injury, the nurse ever so efficiently directs one of those dear elderly men from the waiting room, who also happens to be wearing the latest in hospital gowns, to sit down in a chair beside me!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? Talk about avoiding eye contact – and any other type of contact for that matter!

(When you have finished laughing, you may continue reading)

So, it has been seven years since the diagnosis, and yesterday  I had an appointment for my annual bladder scope. That’s where the doctor takes a camera on the end of a cable the size of a garden hose and tries to insert it into your urethra which is the size of a small straw! (ok-slight exaggeration – but it sure feels like it!) so that he can view the tissues of your bladder. So I once more found myself sitting in a waiting room full of men and 1 or 2 concerned wives. I would like to say that I have gotten used to feeling like the only apple in a bunch of bananas, but I haven’t. However, I now have a wonderful hubby sitting beside me holding my hand and I now get my own private dressing, or rather, un-dressing room that is kept at a temperature unsuitably warm  for hanging frozen sides of beef, but warm enough to keep goose-bumps at bay.

And best of all – I received the “all clear” and “everything A-okay” for another year, making this my third year being cancer free. PRAISE GOD!

I just wanted to share my good news and hopefully give you something to laugh about.