Saturday, May 30, 2009

Feeling Stupid

Now that the cancer treatment is behind me (except for the daily tamoxifen), I realize that I have questions. Trying to decipher the vast quantities of information available is difficult. Sometimes it is scary. So when I went back to the Cancer Center yesterday, I had questions. Like, for instance, if breast cancer is going to metasticize, generally it will go to the lungs, the brain, or the liver. How are they monitoring for that? What's the game plan? What am I supposed to be looking for? What is the standard follow-up care for breast cancer? How do you tell the difference between scar tissue and a tumor? The doctor there was nice. It wasn't her fault. She was filling in for my own doctor on maternity leave. She kept saying, "Ma'am, I cannot believe that Dr. B did not discuss this with you." "Certainly Dr. B. has covered all this with you..." I walked out of there feeling like a jackass.

Now I have another question. Why did I feel like a jackass? They were valid questions. I've really got to snap out of my self conscious, bumbling, easily embarrassed manner of dealing with this. After everything, I'm surprised that I still have to have these conversations with myself.


Kara Herron said...

I asked all of the same questions in my post chemo appt. I don't think it's bad to ask questions - it's your right to know what will be happening to your body. I thought there would be a great plan for following up - for preventing the cancer from taking over again. But, nope! I won't be having mammograms because I had a bilateral mastectomy. But, I did think that I'd at least undergo tests each year - MRIs, heart tests, etc. But, my doctor said no. I'll just keep meeting with him - every 3 months, then every 6 months, and then once a year. The only way I'll get any more testing is if I, for instance, have a cough that won't go away, or an ache that won't heal. Then, they'll do testing. When I heard this, I was so dissatisfied. I'm HER2 positive, which means that the cancer was very fast growing. So, if I wait until something hurts, does that mean the cancer came back with a vengeance? Sigh. This is just going to make me question every single little ache and pain for the rest of my life. Do you feel like that too? By-the-way, I read your post about the little curls you found - I use a shampoo and conditioner that is making my hair grow back super fast. It's called Nioxin. I've actually been using it on my head since last November, when I shaved my hair off. I've used it faithfully and it really works. It's for people with thinning hair. You can find it at beauty supply shops or salons.

My cancer blog is

Visit if you'd like to.

Take Care,

steviewren said...

It's hard to change old habits. For a long time after my divorce I heard myself repeating lies to myself that my ex had been fond of telling me... Don't beat yourself up for asking questions. I know you know this already, but never forget you are your own best advocate.

My how your blog has changed since I was here last. I loved reading everything I missed and seeing a little of what you see everyday.

I've had some of the same thoughts about the Amish. It is a strange (to me) lifestyle and belief system which has almost no basis in the scripture even though it seems to have a religious basis. I thought both your posts were nicely said and to the point. I do love to see their clotheslines. I really miss seeing clothes hanging on clotheslines now days. But I wouldn't give up my dryer. I would like to have a line for the sheets, towels and jeans though.

RedWifey said...

Even if Dr. B had answered those questions before, it's OKAY to have them answered again. Ask away, sistah, and don't be shy. It is YOUR body they're dealing with anyway. You have a right to have them answered as many times as needed. Seriously! Hmph!

Mary Paddock said...

They are not doing you any favors by answering your questions. It doesn't matter whether you're repeating yourself or not. These people work for you. If it were me, I'd want a game plan too. In fact, I'd demand one. People who are the most pro-active in their own health care are the ones with the best out-come.

Pam said...

I think it would probably be stupid NOT to ask questions. And if you want or need to ask them over and over, then that's your right.

That doctor should feel stupid, not you, my friend!

jeanie said...

I am with RedWifey - even if it has been explained before, you obviously want the answers again to process it.

There is never any such thing as a stupid question. That, however, was a pretty stupid answer.

If she didn't have time or whatever to go through it with you then, she should have made an avenue for you to get those answers - even if it is for the 1000th time.

You should NEVER feel stupid for seeking information. Never.

So what if you were told information at a point in time when you were unable to process it because of all you had to process at the time - if you weren't told the information because another doctor thought you would be told by a nurse - or a blog - or a relative who had been down that road?

It is best to be a fool and ask, than to be an idiot in ignorance.

Bush Babe said...

What they all said... never be afraid to ask. And ask again if the answer isn't clear.

mommamia said...

I posted a comment earlier but it never went through. Do not ever be afraid to ask. For a Dr. to treat you in this manner is unforgiveable. In dealing with my daughter's health problems I always go in armed with a list. At first it was so I didn'tfeelimtimidated. Now it is simply to remember what too ask. What they said and what too follow up on.

I saw your new post asking what follow up treatment others are getting. That is great idea. You may find something that your own Dr is not aware of because it is not being done in that part of the country. It has happened to us and it was a very good thing.

mommamia said...

Sorry I was trying to fix the spacing and I made it worst.

Barry said...

Those are extremely valid questions. They need to be asked again, and again until you get some answers that satisfy you.