Inquiring mindsPosted: December 7, 2011
So yesterday I had my appointment with the gyn oncologist, and I haven’t taken the time to report back. Many thanks to you dedicated readers who’ve inquired about the appointment. Y’all are keeping me on my toes.
A little refresher: Dr B was recommended by Dr P, my new favorite OB-GYN, for my strange and complicated situation: to remove or not to remove my ovaries? That is the question. And then the follow-up question: how to remove them? After a recent week from hell with more conflicting opinions than skeletons in Herman Cain’s closet, the newest doctor in my supporting cast at long last added some clarity. Well, sort of.
Dr B says there certainly is reason to proceed with the surgery, based on my maternal family history. Although I tested negative for the BRAC gene, there’s enough cancer, of various sorts but mostly reproductive, to justify yanking my ovaries.
But, on the other hand, my recurrence score is quite low.
But, on the other hand, I do favor the scorched-earth policy of doing every- and anything I can to assure that this blasted cancer doesn’t have a chance to come back.
But, on the other hand, the oophrectomy would be surgery #9 for me since I was diagnosed 18 months ago. As much as I dig the morphine, I’m not exactly embracing another surgery.
But, on the other hand, perhaps it would be nice to breathe easy knowing I’ve formally cut ties between my body and the pesky hormones that caused cancer to so rudely interrupt my life.
At this point, you might be wondering just how many hands this new doctor has.
And you might now be quite enlightened as to the utter confusion of my current situation.
Dr B said that she’d like to give me an answer to my question, but there really isn’t a cut & dried, definitive answer.
I should have known.
Nothing, and I do mean nothing, has been easy or normal or gone according to plan thus far; why should this be any different?
Rather than flipping a coin, which at this point seems as reasonable as anything else, she proposed what sounds like a great idea: she will present my case and all its myriad complications, to a consortium of oncologists at their round-table discussion Thursday morning. The group of docs in this brain trust will pick apart my checkered past, render opinions, and hopefully provide an answer.
Who wants to put $20 on a hung jury?
As much as I would love to have Dr B call me at our appointed time on Friday to say, it’s unanimous (one way or the other, at this point I don’t really care as long as I don’t have to make the decision), I am completely prepared for her to say, we dunno.
And so I begin yet another round of the waiting game.
The good news is that Dr B said if I decide to proceed with the surgery, she can indeed do it laparoscopically. That makes for a much easier recovery, and at this point in my cancer “journey,” I sure would welcome something easy.
As much as I resisted getting yet another doc involved, and as much as I really didn’t want to have to trot out my medical history once again, I’m glad I was a big girl and made the decision to go the distance. I like Dr B a lot, and getting myself into the hallowed MD Anderson halls wasn’t nearly as complicated as I expected. Perhaps I’d had enough time to rest up after faxing the huge sheaf of medical records, pathology, and test results to her office. I was almost taken down by the “welcome packet” that arrived, in 2 separate envelopes, from Anderson. I managed to survive the process of filling out another sheaf of papers and documenting the gory details of my family and personal medical history, including a nosey question about how many sexual partners I’ve had. Geez, all I want is an opinion on an oophorectomy, not the Spanish Inquisition.
The hilarity continued during the actual appointment, when the fellow who shadows Dr B was going over the sheaf of papers and her eyes bugged out when she got to the answer to the Spanish Inquisition.
Not really. That didn’t happen, but I imagined it happening. If my answer to that particular question was higher or lower than average, the fellow (whose name I cannot remember but who I wouldn’t identify anyway, because that might invade her privacy) didn’t let on. And I’m grateful for that. I’ve long since lost any shred of modesty or dignity in this cancer “journey,” but I do appreciate not having to get into that subject with her.
Along with the fellow who may or may not be judging me based on my answer to that one question, Dr B has a nurse practitioner and a visiting doctor from China. All four of them looked under the hood, so to speak, when we reached the exam part of the appointment. Nothing like bringing 4 new people into the inner recesses of the wild and wonderful world that is my body after breast cancer. I wanted to offer to let the receptionist and the janitor and the Fed Ex delivery guy come in, too, but I wasn’t sure if the group of 4 would get my humor, so I kept my big mouth shut. Maybe next time.