Packing Anxiety

Packing for me is always stressful!

It does not matter whether it is a short trip or a long one, packing fills me with anxiety.  Yes, I have a carefully prepared list. Yes, I go over it several times. And still when I get where I am going, I always manage to have forgotten something.

Today our destination is Tampa where Vickie will receive what we hope will be her final chemotherapy session at the Moffitt Cancer Center. If all goes as we hope and pray it does, her protocol going forward will be to rest, regain strength and gradually return to her pre-cancer life.

The hotel where we stay is very near to the University of South Florida as is the Moffitt Center. Many of the hotel’s guests are Moffitt patients and their families.  The hallways and lobby of the hotel are full of encouraging posters made by USF students as well as elementary school children, with messages of encouragement and positivity for those undergoing treatment. The hotel staff is sensitively aware that many of their guests have not come to Tampa for vacation.

There is a gratis shuttle that takes hotel guests back and forth to the hospital. The drivers are courteous and encouragingly upbeat.  At Moffitt too, everyone we encounter from the attendants in the free valet parking lot, to the orderlies, clerks, nurses and elite cancer-specialist physicians are gracious, courteous and caring.

Even with these wonderful positives, the purpose of our trip exacerbates my packing anxiety. Worrying about how things might turn out only increases the high likelihood that I will forget to put something I need in my suitcase.

Vickie’s assurance that, “they have stores in Tampa where you can buy anything you might forget,” does not diminish the stress.

As I put the almost-forgotten pajamas into my bag, I remind myself of the vital fact that so many people traveling to Moffitt have grim prognoses, and, in the scheme of things we are very fortunate.  From the outset, Vickie’s doctors have said her condition is, “treatable and curable.”

From the beginning of Vickie’s cancer journey, I have held fast to those words. Now that we are approaching this pivotal juncture, I shall try to focus more on the hoped-for outcome of our trip and less on what might be missing from my suitcase when I get there.