Friday, May 28, 2010

The destination

In the end, its not the medals you have upon your chest
But if somewhere underneath them, if you still have a heart left
If you can feel the pain of others, if you can even feel at all
When you glance at your reflection, is it standing straight and tall
The destination is a measure of the steps that you have taken from the beginning to the end
The destination is the sum of all your weaknesses subtracted from the sum of all your strengths.

We have left Bandon yesterday, Ken did my last shift as the hospitalist. We had given our notice for September, but last week in a private session with the hospital board, the administrator reported that one of the other doctors had committed a very serious HIPPA violation. This was completely not true, this other doctor was never given a chance to tell her side of the story.
She is also the doctor who has challenged the administration the most. So since we are the ones who challenge the administration the "second most" we decided we had to leave. We have spent 13 years being good doctors to the people of Bandon, and to think our reputation could be smattered by the twist of the tongue by someone who prefers not to be questioned, we just are not going to risk that.
Last night was a very tearful night thinking of all the wonderful people who work there. The relationship that Ken and I have had there has been the most wonderful.
I guess I feel in some ways as though I have run away from a task I had committed to as well. Taking on the chief of staff position last year, I fully intended to complete the full 2 years and I feel I have let down a lot of people who were encouraged by the progress we were making bring together the issues of the other parts of the hospital, with the medical staff.
From the last medical staff meeting, it was clear that there were factions there who did not want me there anymore and so I decided to give in to my weaknesses and quit. That, I did for my health.
Everything I read about cancers clearly show an association between high levels of stress and the emergence of cancer. Many people I correspond with admit that the year or two prior to their cancer, WAS the most stressful time of their lives.
The last 3 years have been very stressful. It is not the actual work, I love that, it is the "politics".
I have taken to listening to some of my songs recently, and yesterday whilst running was listening to the destination. Perhaps this was a time to give in to my weaknesses to preserve my health. I have plenty of strengths.

Today being a new day, we are heading north to Seattle, we are meeting Ken's sister, Pat, and my sister, Linda, at Tulalip, tonite. Do a little shopping and some gambling???
Then tomorrow we head to Seattle to the Folklife festival. Our little band is playing on two stages on Monday. The ALKI stage from 1-1:30 and on a stage that is doing a Dolly Parton tribute at about 1:40

I have been feeling really well the past few days. I saw Dr Cook last week, and he said that he likes to do a full CT chest, abdomen and pelvis every 6 months as surveillance, making certain there are no new recurrences. I asked if they could possibly do an MRI instead, just to avoid all that radiation, he said they really did not show the same level of detail as the CT.
Since I am seeing the GI guy up in Portland July 1st, I will wait to book the CT, to see if perhaps there is something more specific he suggests.
My bloodwork, the cancer marker is still low, which is good. My white blood count is also still low (as low as it was during chemo, or even lower at times). We talked about this, I told him, it seemed as though perhaps it would always be low. He said that might be so, and that there was likely no greater risk of infection. I wonder if this would be a concern with dental work??

Anyways lots of changes for us, there is clearly a sense of sadness leaving Bandon, and since we still have the house, we hope to have one more BIG PIZZA party there.

jankenb @

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