Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oncologist Today

One of the hardest things about having breast cancer is that important life decisions have to made when you're under extreme duress. Forget having a chance to think about it. The clock is ticking - there's a time bomb inside you. Waiting or even analyzing your decisions isn't really an option.

I'd love nothing better than to evaluate more than one doctor for each thing involved with my treatment. I'm not certain I'll have time. My choices aren't really choices. It's born of panic and fear. Not a great basis to make informed and rational decisions.

We see the oncologist today. I want to know this man before I hit the table. I'm well aware that this isn't necessary but I want him to act as my second opinion. I certainly don't feel that I'll be able to make great decisions in the month after surgery, when I'm in pain and stressed even more than now.

He's the same Doctor that treated my mother, knows Steffie (she went to some of Mom's treatments), and I think that will be a comfort to her. I can only hope. But one part of me is wondering whether this man is doing the latest and greatest treatments for breast cancer or simply doing the point and choose between chemo and radiation.

I want innovation and personal treatment. I want the very best that they have. If my surgeon has told me that great strides have been made in just the 5 years since my mother was treated, then show me. I'm not interested in being a number on a chart.

We have to cruise down to Bethesda to pick up my films and MRIs before visiting the plastic surgeon later today. Go here, go there, go here - I'm a home body. I just want to be still. I guess I'll be plenty still a few weeks from now during recovery.

An added note about the Breast MRI:

It's important to note that a breast MRI can only be read accurately during the 7th to 10th day after a woman starts her cycle. If not read during this time, there's a chance of a false positive. This little kernel of information isn't well known if you're not a radiologist. That means we women will have exactly 3 days per month to get the most accurate reading from a breast MRI. Wow. Way to have the odds going against you.

More on the plastic surgeon later...

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