birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Dr. Nadya

We spent the bulk of the last 12 months chasing a cancer diagnosis. In fact, I am so exhausted by the process, that I HATE writing about it. But in the interest of being a good Magpie, here goes...

Abnormal labs had my husband in an oncology referral maze. From point of referral to positive diagnosis, it took six months.

Once in the hands of his hemotologist, there was a cascade of labs and testing. Like dominoes, one indicated the next and the next and the next.

Finally, the definitive appointment was scheduled with the doctor to discuss results. While the staff was fine, professional, and friendly, there was always this sense of a barrier between the final authority, the Doctor.

Hemo clinics are not the place for intuitive sensitive INFPs, like me. Like clockwork, patients are called for blood labs, like Starbucks orders. Nearby rest rooms, frequently in use, announce the reality of human plumbing.

Waiting rooms filled with all types, most achingly the young--finding ways to distract from the reason why we are all there. When a patient's name is called, everyone (well most everyone) looks up at said patient and by the curious looks on the faces, they wonder what this person is here for. I mean, we all know why. Blood disorder. Thought bubbles appear above heads: But what kind? How bad is it? S/he doesn't look THAT sick. S/He looks VERY ill. S/he's too young! S/he doesn't have much time left. That person's caretaker is so nice. That person's caretaker is a mindless SOB. And so on.

When Steve was called to see the doctor, I went in with him. I wanted to be there to hear directly from the doc (whom I had not met yet) what we were dealing with. The nurse took vitals and tucked us in the room that said no cell phones. Ha! But law abiding me, I turned my phone off, even though I had family and friends on call for the results.

After a wait, and there is always a wait, Dr. Nadya entered the room. She is referred to as Dr. Nadya, because she is Russian, and no one can pronounce her last name. She extended her hand to me in greeting. I asked how to pronounce her name. I got it right (I am half Russian). Her eyes twinkled, and then her smile! Megawatt smile.

Dr. Nadya was young, blonde, tall, lithe, legs up to here, with a charming broken accent. As we were leaving the clinic, I turned to Steve and asked, why didn't you tell me your Doctor was so gorgeous?!


The Pressure to Be Enough