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  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

The Waiting Room

By Dania Francis




Every morning for 5 weeks. I park my car, walk down the long path, check in while patients much older than me can’t help but stare, and I smile as I stick out my right wrist to get my ID band placed by the nice front desk staff.


I walk down the hall. The first day I was a bit lost with each turn, but now I know exactly where to go. I find my locker, lucky number 23, and I grab my XXL gown and get changed.


I take the same seat every morning and look around the waiting room. Some women are reading, some are there for the first time, and some are almost done. I smile at whoever is looking, and make a connection.


A 41-year-old woman just like me with the same diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), she’s from Italy originally and has a beautiful accent. We talk about our Italian culture and how hard this has all been. We exchange numbers and offer each other comfort and good wishes for the day. We are on the same schedule and will end our radiation within two days of one another. She is struggling with knee pain from immunotherapy and I offer her some advice to talk to her doctor about.


A 35-year-old woman is holding a big tub of chocolate biscotti to give to the radiation team, because she heard that’s what you should do. I tell her I’m a nurse and that we always appreciate that. We smile at each other and I learn that she is halfway through her treatment for triple positive breast cancer. I wish her luck as the tech calls my name.


An 85-year-old woman is here for her first day of treatment for HR+ breast cancer. She is nervous and unsteady on her feet. Her daughter comes back with her to help her get into her gown. She sits down next to me. I smile at her and tell her everything will be okay. She smiles at me and I can tell she feels sorry I am so young. She reaches her hand to my arm and squeezes gently. The tech calls her name and I wish her luck. I look forward to seeing her tomorrow.


I only have five more mornings in this waiting room after today... and I will remember the connections I made forever. Maybe it’s the nurse in me, or the desire to connect with others on this path. The waiting room is a special place for me.



Dania and her family celebrating her final radiation treatment on April 3, 2024.


About the author: Dania is 41 and lives in NY with her husband and two small children. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner, Yoga teacher, and certified Reiki healer. She is a stage 2 Triple Negative Breast Cancer Thriver.



Read More:







On the Podcast: Breast Cancer Conversations

Radiation Therapy: What Every Breast Cancer Thriver Needs To Know




 


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