That ratchetting sound

You know, I never really liked roller coasters.

And I really hated that ratchetting up to the top of the first hill. Once I get to the top and see what lies ahead though, it’s usually not that bad (well, I do need a first scream).

I think we finally reached the top of that first hill and can see what lies ahead. Not ready to scream yet, but soon.


Okay, so I had an appointment with Dr. Burns, the medical oncologist, today. He’s the one who’s going to be the point man until surgery.

But he’s been damn hard to get in touch with. He was just in the office one day last week, so instead of seeing him right after my biopsy, I had to wait 8 days. I left a message for him Thursday that he got, oh, 2 minutes before he came to see me. Then, we waited another 40 past the time of the appointment. (I ran out of yarn, so had nothing to crochet to keep my mind off things. I had decided I was getting a new oncologist at 45 minutes.)

I was not being a reasonable woman. When he came to the office and asked how I was, I told him. I was anxious to wait 8 days and the last 40 minutes didn’t make it any better. I hated that there was no one in the whole office who could answer my questions and I was in the dark for 8 days. I was not going to start chemotherapy with someone I couldn’t trust.

All I can say to my credit is I didn’t cry or yell (too loud). To his credit, he dealt with me well. We went through all the questions. He was surprised I didn’t talk to the phone nurse when I had a question. “Ummm, what phone nurse?” “Oh, I guess we didn’t tell you.” He was surprised I didn’t email him. “My address is on my business card.” “Ummm, what card?” “Oh, I guess I didn’t give you one.”

He did prescribe anti-depressants very quickly! Guess he figured I needed them. (Actually, when we asked if he usually gave them to patients, he said he’d have everyone take them if he could convince them.)

So, the view from the top of the roller coaster has:

  • an echo-cardiogram Thursday to ensure I can handle one of the chemo drugs
  • a meeting with a health psychiatrist and nurse Thursday to talk about all the details of treatment
  • a PET scan Friday to ensure the cancer is restricted to my breast and lymph nodes
  • referral to the Wellness Center for their cancer wellness program
  • chemo starting Thursday, November 10. I’ll know more this Thursday after the education session, but they warn me it could take 6 hours or more. I’ll bring lots of yarn.
  • anti-depressants
  • genetic testing
  • a referral to a nutritionist. Seems I can’t have fresh fruit, vegetables, or flowers.
  • a handicapped parking permit for the next 9 months. Charlie seems to think I may want to go to school when I’m too weak to walk all the way in from the big lot. I’d like to think I’d have more sense if I was that weak, but I’m realizing I probably don’t “have more sense” any more

and followup on all of this. He handled the questions very well, so I trust him, for now.

The good news is there are going to be just 6 chemo sessions. Just 6. I can do 6. (Good thing I’m writing this down where it’ll be around after 1 or 2 sessions!)

But, the session with the doctor and assistant scheduling just beat me down, so when I went across to The Breast Center to see if the gel marker took, nothing phased me. Another mammogram? Sure, why not? Want to reinsert the marker? Yeah, okay, haven’t had a 6 inch needle in my breast for over 24 hours, it’s about time we do that again. More mammograms? Of course.

But, I got them to put another bandage on my biopsy incision…the surgi-strips fell off yesterday and it’s been tender. They were so apologetic about having to reinsert the marker, I figured they’d be willing to help.

And, all in all, everyone there has been willing to help!

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1 Comment »

  1. I’m not liking your oncologist. At all.

    Anti-depressants? Don’t get me wrong – cancer and chemo aren’t on my list of “fun things to do”, but that’s a bit, well, PUSHY. (All meanings intended.) Feeling mentally bewildered, combined with well-deserved moments of self-pity and doubt are not clinical depression. Anti-depressants aren’t happy pills – if he’s going to give you drugs, I recommend asking for pain killers or sedatives. A few Tylenol 3s or valiums would be useful for pain along with making you sleepy enough to actually sleep through some of the nastiness of chemo.

    Don’t let ’em stall you one bit. If you want answers and such NOW, then get pushy and indignant and stay that way! Anti-depressants for rightful indignation? Pfft!

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