Once I again I found myself waiting for a phone call. A phone call to let me know whether or not the three lymph nodes removed during surgery for biopsy, had any cancer cells in them.
I was hopeful that they would all be clean, healthy little nodes, but I was wrong.
My surgeon called a few days after my surgery to tell me that one lymph node had 3mm of cancer cells in it - the other nodes looked great (not sure what a lymph node is suppose to look like, but "great" sounded perfect to me). This one node changed my breast cancer status from Stage I to Stage II. It also would greatly impact the treatment options my oncologist would have for me.
Could I not catch a freakin' break?! Really? Wasn't breast cancer enough? Did it have to hit one node too?
Here's where I hit mad as hell and later ended up on my kitchen floor hysterically crying!
Two days after the bad news node call, I was in the oncologist office with my brother. Team C Cup members were prepped and ready to go, but my brother trumped the Team. This experience did not go as well as all the other experiences I had had in this hospital. I knew the oncologist was going to say "chemo" to me, but I didn't expect his lack of bedside manner. I was stunned when people started throwing wig sheets at me without giving me a moment to process any news! I was outraged that this man was telling me "I'd feel fine by winter" with some very short hairs on my head with no ounce of compassion or concern. I was angry that when I started crying, he did not get up to get the box of Kleenex for me! My brother tried to get to it but was trapped behind the table. The nurse next to the box never moved. I got up and got the damn box myself!
When I tried to ask questions about this recommended treatment (type of chemo, drugs involved etc), he was not very open with information. I realize I am not a doctor or a chemist, but I am not stupid and this was still my body. My brother could sense my frustration and he started asking questions to get the information we both wanted. I asked about more specifics- breakdown of the type of cancer, etc - the oncologist responded, "you can Google yourself to death if you want to". Again, so not the right thing to say!
The physical exam did not go well either. I was moved to another room, gowned up and perched on an examination table. This oncologist knew that I was still not a week out from surgery, but that didn't stop him from man-handling (no pun intended) my very swollen and sore boob. I let him know he was hurting me, but got no response. He made it very clear that he "was only interested in this part of me (as he point to my cancer boob) and that my surgeon and other doctors would take care of the rest of me". Last time I checked, I was still a total package - not a doll with parts to be assigned.
Before the meeting was over, I was handed a date to start chemo and this list of things I had to complete before the set start date. Wait, wait...I never said yes to this...I've not had time to think about it.
I took the weekend to think about what I wanted, what was best for me and do some reading and soul-searching. I decided that what I needed was a new oncologist! If I was going to be followed by this person for the next 5 to 10 years of my life, I should have a connection with them. Monday morning I was on the phone with my patient educator (who is awesome) relaying my experience and she immediately got me in with a different oncologist.
The meeting with the 2nd oncologist was much better. We talked for about an hour and everything was spelled out to me - including options (2 choices of chemo instead of 1 choice). There were numbers, percentages and information that I could see, read and process. This was my oncologist! Chemo was still the preferred and recommended plan for my treatment but at least now I felt more comfortable with the whole process.
Time for me to make them wait. I had waited on phone calls and now I wanted to take my time and make my decision for my body. They could wait.