Cancer log 137: Commute…

Cancer log 137: Commute edition. Various people (doctor relatives and others) advised me to pick the hospital closest to me for my cancer treatment. I mean, not if it was a *bad* hospital. But given that breast cancer care is a pretty standardized protocol nationwide, and that they caught mine early and the prognosis was good, so it wasn't likely that anything particularly cutting edge would be needed, any good hospital should be fine.

My choices were West Suburban (10 minutes away, but sadly underfunded and notably understaffed compared to the others), Loyola (15 minutes away), UIC (25-45 minutes away), Northwestern (60-90 minutes away), and U of C (60-90 minutes away). The latter two are the higher-end, more cutting edge hospitals (and it was unclear whether my HMO insurance would even let me go there), but I honestly wasn't really tempted. I went with Loyola, and have been SO glad I picked the short commute. There were several days where I really had to nerve myself up to be a good patient and go get my yucky treatment, and if I'd had a miserable commute to add on top of that -- well, I'm not sure how disciplined I would have been.

Today I started radiation, and while the procedure itself is painless and quick, I'm already resenting the fact that I have to go back to the hospital tomorrow, even though it's just for 15 minutes. I'm going to have appointments every weekday for six and a half weeks -- once a week, it'll be a 30-45 minute appt., with a doctor check-in included, and the other four will be 15 minute treatments. The only saving grace to this daily hospital trip is that it's only 15 minutes away, via surface streets.

Now, I'm guessing that U of C and Northwestern might have treatment centers closer to me than the main hospital, so if I'd really wanted those hospitals, I would have looked into that. But seriously, folks, if you're dealing with this much hospital travel, take your commute time into account. You're going to feel it.

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