Monday, October 27, 2008

Where I've Been

Its hard to believe that October is coming to a close.  Even harder to believe that I have neglected this blog for so dam long!  So I am finally back to tell about what has been going on to keep me away.  

Around the time of my last post I came down with a crazy bad cold that kept me huddled on the couch with boxes of puffs plus for a week.  It took me about 2 more weeks to feel better.  And during all of that I was hard at work on something very exciting for my book that I cannot yet talk about but am busting at the seems to.  Sorry for the teaser ;)

I had my annual checkup with my oncologist about 2 weeks ago.   No matter how long, how many years I am a survivor I dont think I will ever go through it with ease.  I will always have some level of anxiety.  More so since my dad passed away.  So I wanted to share a story about how that went.  

I have never come to blows with any of my docs.  But this visit came close.  Maybe it is because I have become a better advocate for myself.  Or maybe I have just become more frustrated with the establishment.  First of all I had to wait over an hour in the little room with the dam gown on freezing, pacing until he finally came in.  I am sure I must have been his last patient for the day which I bet was a stressful one.  Lou was in the room with me and I sat on a chair because I couldnt stand to sit up on the examining table for that long.  When he finally came in I hit him with the sarcasm right off.  He asked me what I was doing over on the chair and I told him I thought it would make me feel less like a patient since I had to wait so long for him.  He smiled and asked me to get up on the table.  

When he asked me how I was I told him I was fine but my dad had died.  I tried to hold back the tears for as long as I could.  I can tell you it wasn't that long.  In the meanwhile though he started in on me again about getting tested for the breast cancer gene.  He and I began this conversation or rather he began it years ago.  And I told him that I was not getting tested because I know that I wouldn't do what he was recommending if I was positive.  That is to remove my ovaries and my right breast just in case, to prevent cancer.  Now he was pushing it even harder as he explained to me about the link between pancreatic and breast cancer.  Because my dad had pancreatic cancer increases that chances that my breast cancer was genetic.  When I asked him about percentages he told me it was 10 percent that I may have the gene.  Last time I checked 10 percent is pretty low on the scale and certainly not a high enough chance in my eyes.   It was like I didnt know him, for a second when he kept pressing me about getting tested.  Then I started to cry and the tears were about my dad.  When I asked him about smoking and alcoholism being predisposing factors to pancreatic cancer which I had discovered from my google research he quickly shot down my idea and rambled on again about the gene test.  

As I laid down on my back for the breast exam, tears streaming down my face he grabbed my hand looked into my eyes and said "I would be so sad if you ended up getting ovarian cancer."

WTF!  Did I hear him correctly?  Are you kidding me?  What kind of a thing is that to say.  Wow, he was really laying on the scare tactics.  It was so not like him.  As the shock wore off I looked back at him and said "Really....well, I think I would be alot sadder than you!"  And didnt even know what else to say at that point.  I just think it was  a tad bit inappropriate for him to say that.  Not the best bedside manner for the moment. 

But having said all that I want to just close with this.  I am not saying here that genetic testing is wrong, I know it has saved many lives.  What I am saying is that I just dont think it is the right thing for me.  I personally look at my recovery in a more holistic way and believe that nutrition, lifestyle, and other environmental factors can put people at risk for cancer.  I believe and have always said that each person  faced with any disease has to make the best decisions they can for themselves and their recovery. 

Have any of you been faced with a difficult decision in any area of your life that others disagreed with?  

2 comments:

sheilamiller31 said...

I am sorry you had such a crappy appointment. Sounds like it may be time to go oncologist shopping!! those appointments are hard enough without some dogmatic schpeil about 'why you should do things my way' Thank god my doctor supports my decisions to not do the chemo and radiation. It takes awhile to find a good doctor, one that listens and trusts your intuition but it is so worth it! Glad to hear you are back in the swing of things and not keeping Kleenex in business with your killer cold!

Cathy said...

Thanks Sheila! And yes, you are right, I may just have to go shopping. Its funny, I think I am outgrowing my docs as I learn more and more about holistic stuff that ever before and believe in it so much. He has been so good up till now and has always supported me even with not doing tamoxifen. But man it was a tough appt. I have another one coming up in Dec. with my surgeon and for a mammo, hope that is less stressful....ha ha! :)