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You Know You've Been to the Oncologist Too Many Times When...

You walk in and the entire staff yells your name, al la “Norm” of Cheers fame
PUBLISHED November 02, 2017

Kevin Berry is an 13-year mantle cell lymphoma survivor, in his third remission. He works on Human Spaceflight programs, is a freelance writer and editor, and supports newly diagnosed patients through his ministry, Taking Vienna. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and adult children.

I’ve been doing the cancer thing for over 12 years now. I’m treated at a local “neighborhood” onco, as well as at our disease’s version of the “big box” store, a cancer megaplex about three hours away. These places have become second homes to me. The other day, in my pre-med haze (sleepy on antihistamine, buzzed on steroid and detached on nausea med) I realized just how much time I’ve spent in these places. Aided by the chemical creativity enhancers, I came up with own version of the classic “you know you’ve …” routine.

You know when you’ve been at the oncologist too many times, when:

- You walk in and the entire staff yells your name, al la “Norm” of Cheers fame
- The operator at the mega center recognizes your voice and phone number
- You get torqued off when someone has “your” chemo chair, out of the 24 available
- The nurses have your birthday, including the year, memorized
- The doctor opens your chart and says, “Wow! I’ve never seen anyone who’s had THAT much Rituxan!"
- A new doc asks for your medical history, and runs out of paper making notes
- You got to a walk-in clinic, the doc asks for your medical history, you sigh, and say, “buckle your seat belt."
- You are correcting nurse’s pronunciations of your meds, even the chemical formulas
- Former employees are asking you for the latest office gossip
- You are in charge of the book shelves, even though there are volunteers available
- They ask your opinion when redecorating the office
- The doctor is more interested in your job and family than talking about your disease
- You are telling the research docs about published papers they haven’t heard of yet

And, best of all:

An attractive woman says, “Drop your pants, I want to feel your groin.” And your wife just goes on reading her book!
Besides the other wonderful blogs on, I hope you'll also visit my Taking Vienna site. That’s where I talk in a much more personal way about my battle, my family and friends and other random and odd musings.
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