I had my yearly cancer check up yesterday. At this point, a decade after diagnosis, these visits feel mainly like social occasions, although I am being followed for late effects from the chemo, so there is a medical component. I've been seeing this doctor since I moved to NYC just after I went into remission, and I love him.
One of the reasons I'm so fond of him is that he always remembers the details about my life - even now that he only sees me once a year (back at the beginning, he used to see me every couple of months). He's very friendly, very bright. And he's one of those doctors who obviously loves people - he truly wants to know what you're up to, how you are, what you're thinking about, etc. All of which astound me, because I know he is insanely busy.
Unfortunately, yesterday my oncologist's elephantine memory resulted in a painful and awkward exchange.
He came bursting into the exam room (did I mention he's pretty enthusiastic too?), exclaiming, "How's the baby?"
I felt like I'd been punched.
I had been pregnant the last time I saw him, and of course, he remembered. Eyes downcast, lump in throat, I said, "There's no baby."
"But you were pretty pregnant the last time I saw you! Weren't you? What happened?" (Ok, so his memory isn't perfect. I wasn't that pregnant.)
Through tears, I explained that I lost that baby (m/c #2) and the baby after that (m/c #3). And that since then, despite multiple IVFs, I haven't gotten pregnant again.
He asked what the doctors are thinking, and I told him what we've heard. And he shared that he is aware that there is a higher risk for spontaneous abortion (i.e., miscarriage) in women treated with ABVD, my chemo regimen. I hadn't known that. But I'm living it.
We went on to have a fine visit, where he was his usual excellent clinical self. But it was a rocky beginning.
I would have said that I'm "over" the miscarriages, but all it took was a simple question to knock the wind out of me and leave me in tears.
I wonder, will it always be like that?