I started writing this in Vancouver, a couple of weeks ago, right after three days of back-to-back to appointments.
Well, it’s been a very busy week, that’s for sure. Before I got sick, I thought people on sick leave were taking it easy, as they should. Turns out cancer is a full-time job! Between all the doctor’s visits, treatments, support group meetings, and paperwork (there is more than you might think), I may just be busier now than before!
Last Friday, I got a call from the surgeon’s office informing me that the referal to the oncologist had finally been received and as per his request I would require three big appointments this week.
Monday was the bone scan, entailing a radioactive injection at 10am, and then a scan later in the day. It was nice that they let me go home in between but it still took up most of the day.
Then Tuesday, I had to be in High River for 9am to drink a massive amount of the most disgusting “water” you can imagine, s l o w l y, over an hour and a half. I would have given nearly anything to be able to just gulp it back and get it over with… CT scan of my abdomen and chest followed (that’s the big tubular machine you see on TV, not so scary). The funny thing is they hooked me up to an IV for the scan and injected some kind of dye or something into me for a couple of the scans. The nurse very kindly warned me that for about 20-30 seconds after the injection, I would feel like I was peeing my pants!
Not to worry, I did not actually wet my pants!
Finally, yesterday, I met with my oncologist (not the one I requested). G-U-L-P. He began the meeting by walking in smugly and stating that he had his work cut out for him to sell me on his plan. He then went on to say all the predictable things. I MUST have chemotherapy (6 rounds), radiation, and hormone therapy. Then I will be referred to a geneticist for testing.
Here’s the kicker. He then pulled out his little prefab diagram and very slowly and patronizingly explained to me the percentages he had laid out for me. He had ten sticks drawn on the page. To show me that there was a 70% chance of recurrence, he circled,
wait for it…
7 of the sticks. What a revelation. Thank you doctor for the math lesson!
He then went on to explain that by doing the recommended treatments, I will reduce the chance of recurrence.
I declined chemotherapy. As he handed me a one-inch thick stack of reading material, he implored me to think about it for a week and get back to him. Okay. Will do.
Ps. the bone scan was clear. Still waiting on CT results.
I have said it before and will say it again now. I am not against anyone doing medical treatments. I believe people should choose the best thing for themselves. For me, the best thing right now is to be healthy, and I am.
Do you feel you have a choice when it comes to health care?