Today I am grateful for exercise and endorphins. I am also grateful for my oncologist.

After a meander back to the letter "Q" it's time to get back on track with a "U" word. An UNDERTONE is an underlying quality or feeling, undercurrent, atmosphere. It is a fitting word for today after I spent time yesterday at the cancer center where I am a patient.

Being over 6 1/2 years out from my diagnosis and just reaching six years on Tamoxifen, it had been a year since I had seen my oncologist. It was a milestone a year ago to be told I didn't need to come back for a year. That year sure went fast, and it was a healthy one. I am so grateful for the days and the health.

I have been with this oncologist since the scary beginning of my time as cancer patient. She is leaving the clinic I am at and I will miss her. I am grateful I was able to see her yesterday and to give her a handwritten thank you. I was surprised to get a hug as my appointment wrapped up. Dr. _________, a sincere thanks to you for your kindness and your professional care.

But back to that undertone. As I drive the few minutes from my workplace to the cancer center, I feel that undercurrent. I also drive nearby the hospital where I had the MRI that initially spotted the cancer in my right breast and the radiology center where I had an MR-guided biopsy that confirmed the suspicious area was indeed cancer. An undertone of fear, of unpleasant memories of waiting and wondering.

Then I walk into the cancer center. Workers, patients, and caretakers are coming and going. It is sometimes easy to spot who is the patient and who is the caregiver, but not always. The atmosphere is thick with a variety of human emotions. I can only accurately pinpoint my own-fear, relief, gratitude, reflecting. There is an undertone of sickness and death, but there is also a competing undertone of hope and life.

Today, I am going to focus on the hope and life.


  1. Hi Lisa,
    I just saw my oncologist this week too. It's coming up on five years for me this spring. It feels strange when the oncologist who was with you at the beginning leaves for whatever reason. That happened to me about a year out from my diagnosis and I remember feeling a bit sad. I've had five oncologists, but now have one I've been seeing for over a year. And no, I'm not a difficult patient at all. ha. I totally get that 'undertone' thing. Like you alluded to, there are many different kinds of undertones too. Good for you for focusing on the undertones of hope and life. Thank you for sharing your wonderful insights.

  2. Thanks Nancy. I hope your current oncologist is a good fit for you and your circumstances. I appreciate that I felt comfortable with and trusted my oncologist. Not everyone feels that way. Isn't it surprising how fast the years go since diagnosis when at the time of initial diagnosis it seemed like time stood still? Onward.


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