Hold, pleasePosted: November 15, 2011 Filed under: breast cancer, cancer fatigue 5 Comments
I’m not often at a loss for words, but I have been lately. November has been a rotten month for me so far, and I’m beyond ready for that to change. Just when I wonder if this “journey” get any harder or any more complicated, I smacked in the face with the answer: a resounding YES.
My oophorectomy saga continues. It’s a pretty simple surgery, really, especially compared to the other surgeries I’ve had of late. And there’s certainly no shortage of great doctors in my town. But finding one to do the oophorectomy robotically, as opposed to open or laparoscopically, has been tricky. The first referral I got was packing her bags for a 6-week overseas trip. The second one is phasing out his surgery practice, instead training other docs on how to do the procedure. The third one seemed promising, but alas her office has an aversion to answering the phone for patients who just want to make an appointment.
First her office was already closed for the day, at 4:00 on a Thursday. Then the office was closed all day Friday. Two strikes, in my opinion, but still alive. However, when the answering service is taking messages on Monday late morning, I wonder what’s up. By Monday afternoon, neither I nor my OB-GYN’s nurse could get someone, anyone, from that office to call us back to schedule an appointment. Multiple messages left, but not one was returned.
What’s happened to customer service? And is this really the first impression this doc wants to make with prospective patients? It certainly doesn’t give me much confidence in the way she runs her office. My patience with difficult doctors has worn quite thin. In fact, I would describe it as metal-on-metal, or bone-on-bone. It’s not just worn thin, it’s eroded. To borrow a line or two from spunky songbird Kelly Clarkson, “You ain’t got the right to tell me.”
“Well ya think you know it all
But ya don’t know a thing at all
Ain’t it something y’all
When somebody tells you something bout you
Think that they know you more than you do.
Well ya like to bring me down don’t ya
But I ain’t laying down, baby
I ain’t going down
Can’t nobody tell me how it’s gonna be
Nobody gonna make a fool out of me
Baby you should know that I lead not follow.
You ain’t got the right to tell me
When and where to go, no right to tell me
Acting like you own me lately
Yeah baby you don’t know a thing about me
You don’t know a thing about me.”
But I digress.
Luckily, I have an inside source. A wonderful friend who knows people in the know at the massive organization I’m trying to gain entry into. She’s kindly going to make a couple of phone calls to her well-placed friends at MD Anderson and ask what in the sam hell does it take to get an appointment with this doctor? Lucky for me, because I am this close to saying forget it. To keeping my damned ovaries and their deadly hormone production. Surely the gamble of keeping them is easier than navigating yet another health care system and all that entails. Frankly, the idea of starting over with another doctor, after having seen 5 docs last week, makes me want to cry — and y’all know I’m not a crier. The idea of providing the details of my insurance card and reciting all my personal info is overwhelming. And don’t even get me started on how I feel about trotting out my long, complicated cancer “journey” for a new doc. Ugh.
I so understand. First of all it stinks you even need to consider this surgergy, but… And then trying to line up yet another doctor and navigating the health care system. And the retelling and the rehashing. Ugh. And the saying goodbye to yet more organs. And then the surgery itself. Been there. Done that. You’ll get there too. Good luck. And what did every happen to customer service??
And somehow you’d be the villian if you punched someone.
Hang in there gal; we are willing you on…
Those robots. They think they’re too good for ordinary people. We’ll see how high and mighty they are next time they need replacement parts.
Sounds hopeful with your friend with an “in” at MD Anderson! Since his office staff won’t answer the phone, try to find his email address – I’ve done this and some docs don’t mind a quick note. You do need to get the damned ovaries out (especially in time for baseball season :)), but also remember that our two adrenal glands also produce those same deadly hormones (estro+proges) so still have to do hormone therapy. Last week, I even asked my med onc to get rid of my adrenal glands because I didn’t want to spend the next five years feeling shitty on tamoxifen, then switched to an additional five years on arimidex. Recent studies indicate longer duration on hormone therapy necessary now to improve survival odds. So what about bc sisters who only took it for five years and are pumping survivor fists celebrating five years?) I’m not over my radiation fatigue yet so I was feeling poorly and punchy in the early morning, squeezed in appointment I had with med onc. He did look at me like I was nuts about an adrenalectomy. Told him I was just throwing it out there because the damn things also crank out other hormones (catecholamines, etc) which have been evil to my rare heart problem as well. Still, the answer was NO (I guess we really need those guys after all). Asked him if I was first patient to ask him this question and he said YES.