Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monday's trip to Pittsburgh was good news. No cancer in the breast. No mastectomy. Flopsy and Notsy stay right where they are. I'm glad.

Tuesday was a waste. 3 hours there for a 20 minute office visit. It is not that the surgeon was unkind. She just pointed out that chronic pain was, unfortunately, not a rare side effect of breast cancer treatment. She was recommending physical therapy and medication. A little surprised, I said, "What about the mass?" She said, "What mass?" I said, "The one the surgeon found." She curtly said, "It is inappropriate to ask me to comment on another surgeon's findings." She went on to say that you do not expect to find breast cancer in the shoulder. So. It wasn't breast cancer, most likely, and the appointment was done.

I walked out of there discouraged. There's the words: most likely. I want to know for sure.

Today I was back in Pittsburgh to meet with their oncologist. Three hours later, I was headed home. She is concerned about the shoulder. She doesn't think it is breast cancer either, but she does think it's important to find out what it is. 'There are sarcomas' she tells me, and also says that she's not saying that is what this is, she is ordering two more scans specifically of the shoulder. She says that a surgical biopsy might be required, but she'll wait until she sees the results of these scans. She leaves the room to study past imaging and then returns. She's changed her mind, she tells me. She wants to do another full body scan in three months instead of six months, and she wants to know as soon as the MRIs of the shoulder have been completed.

I walk out of there with my friend Mary. We both feel relief. Nope. I still don't have all the answers, but for the first time in a while, I feel like my questions have been answered. I feel like there's a plan. That is a good and comforting feeling.


Mrs. Spit said...

I'm sorry, it's so hard to wait. . .

Anonymous said...

Hi, This is better news. Positive thoughts coming your way. Julie

Lydia said...

Oh good! Well I guess the car will know its way to Pitsburg so you won't have to think about driving any more. ha!

So glad that you are getting good results. This is good.

Stephanie said...

Debby, what a roller coaster ride you have been on these past seven weeks. It's time for something tamer...maybe the kiddie cars or a pretty carousel.

The news sounds good. You sound better. I'm glad.

A Novel Woman said...

I'm confused. It sounds like good news, yes? If she is saying it can wait for 3 months, isn't that a good thing? That sounds like a good thing.

And gee whiz, aren't surgeons just as dry as old toast? I had to sit next to one at a dinner not that long ago. I'm telling you, I can usually talk to anyone, but this guy was one nut I couldn't crack. All any of us got were shrugs or one words answers or grunts or he'd simply stare straight ahead. (On the other side of me was a Parisian sculptor, temperamental and opinionated, angry one minute and gushing the next, his hands flailing. It made me dizzy....)

So, relief is good. A plan is good. If the doctors are saying wait three months, that's good.

You should probably go plant some tulip bulbs.

Debby said...

Novel woman. I was tired when I wrote this. The MRIs will be done quickly, here. Based on the results of them, a decision will be made about surgery and my shoulder. The full body scan is to compare the 'areas of activity' from the past two scans to this one, looking for signs that things are changing or growing.

Bush Babe said...

I'm with Pam... good news, kinda good news? Bad news in disguise? I would be HARRASSING doctors for some answers on that shoulder. It's stopping you from sleeping for heaven's sake!!! And I would be tempted to kick doctor number two in the hiney for her attitude... (I love a little tough American talk... my twang would impress y'all!!)

Kelly said...

This does sound encouraging. So...when are the MRIs on the shoulder to take place? Even then, it might just end up being a biopsy and end there, right?

The full scan is three months off. That's a long time, so just put that out of your mind for now.

Meanwhile, I'm still praying!! ...and sending (((hugs)))!

A Novel Woman said...

Got it. So still some waiting and worrying, but at least things are getting done.

And just a word of advice you can take or leave (me sticking my big nose in again.) Don't take any crap (i.e., stalls, jargon, posturing, snippiness, condescension, etc.) from any doctor, anywhere, anytime. Sometimes they forget they are dealing with a patient, not an illness, and they need a reminder. Surgeons are the worst in this regard. I'm not saying they're bad people, because I have a few who are friends (mostly through my husband, as I tend to collect artists.) But they sometimes see patients as a collection of parts, not a whole person. So you choose how gentle or firm you want that reminder to be, but if you're not getting what you want or need, just lob that ball back into their court and don't worry that you will look bad or rude or that they won't like you. You will gain their respect if you take an active interest in your recovery. Nurses are a different story. You want the nurses to like you. I heart nurses, as they are angels on earth.

My most effective comeback when something is not going my way? Whether it be a store clerk or a doctor, my statement is always the same, always said courteously but firmly:

"Sorry, but that's not acceptable to me." Then I just stand there and stare and wait. (I have a friend who used to leap on the counter and jump up and down, but I don't recommend that.)

Lecture over.

Hopesrising said...

Debby thanks for your concern. I have limiting myself to the one blog for a while due to my vision.
In reading thought is they are doing a MRI and if anything shows in the shoulder she wants to know about it. Stating she wants to know when the MRI is done is a good thing. Means she will take a look at it. I don't think three months is unreasonable for a follow up. Considering she is checking with a MRI and all things pertianing to the shoulder.
I have lymphoma and angio sarcoma as a kid. And lot of it was watch and wait depending on the situation. As an adult till they figure out the whole situation. I would rather them collect all the info for the whole picture then address it. A snap call till all info is back it not worth it to me. I want all info so I can make an educated choice as well as my doctor.
I also think if she is doing a scan in three months its of benefit in that she is watching whats happening which in the end is a benefit.
Doctors and medical staff are a pain at times but your being pro active and thats a good thing.Sounds like she wants to know whats happening or she would of not ordered the MRI..Plus we have cancer...but not all things are cancer related.
Watch and wait to me is Watch and Life. I truly believe even with cancer we do this. We do worry yes but that's normal.We are only human.

jeanie said...

Nothing to add but a few hugs (I won't breathe on you!)




quid said...

Answers. They're not overrated. I think PET scans are.