In "Bittersweet Bye" I shared the news that my wonderful internist was closing her medical practice. So last week I established myself with my children's internist. As much as I hated to leave the expert and compassionate care of my longtime physician, I enjoyed a few unexpected surprises.
- My chart is skinny! For the past few years, every time I visited my internist, she lugged a 5-inch thick chart into the room along with her stethoscope. I always felt like we were updating a mountain of medical issues. My new internist's chart looks just like my ob-gyn's chart on me: a few tenths of an inch thick.
- In just minutes, we summarized my eight separate courses of cancer treatment, their side effects and ongoing long-term effects. The process reminded me of how the seemingly endless pain of labor was almost forgotten as soon as I laid eyes on my healthy newborn: The pain and losses of the past 18 years of survivorship telescoped into a compact and unemotional "past medical history."
- For the first time in my life, my primary care physician is much younger than me. Another milestone. Another reminder that I'm getting old. Yay.
As a Healthy Survivor, I balance the grief of unwanted changes associated with aging by celebrating the fact that I am old enough to experience these losses.