Maybe I'm just in a negative mood. I don't know. I received a phone call from the cancer center that I have an appointment tomorrow morning, first thing. 'Um,' I asked, 'when did that happen, because I was not aware of it.' Turns out that it happened last fall. I can tell you what happened. I didn't have this year's calendar up, so it did not get written down. I try to be organized, but long term things like that...pllt. I never remember them. So, yeah. It's my fault. But if you're going to do reminder calls, maybe a little more lead-in time might be useful. Anyways, I told her that I could not make it tomorrow. I've already got one doctor appointment in the afternoon. I've got an interview for a scholarship right after that. I've got company coming for supper. I just don't need one more thing on my to-do list. She asked me if I wanted to re-schedule.
I stood there holding the phone to my ear, and unaccountably, I was just frustrated. 'No,' I said. 'I don't want it rescheduled because there is no point to it. The scans are done, and I am being told that we're waiting to see. There's no sense in coming in and having insurance pay for me to hear it one more time.' She said, 'Well, I'll just note that you're having no symptoms.' I'm tired. It's cold and it's damp and my joints give me worse problems when it is cold and damp. My breast throbs as it has been throbbing when I went in last month and was told that there's nothing to feel. Suddenly, I was just tired of all of it. It's not her fault. She's a nurse there. Protocol is not determined by her. But I said, 'There is no point in going to see this doctor and being told that we are waiting and seeing or that I have nothing to worry about. I already know this. When I have new tests done, then we'll have something to talk about, but until then, there is no point to making appointments.'
I hung up the phone, and I felt like a bitch. Nobody tells you how you endure these post cancer months. How do you be both 'vigilant/proactive' and 'wait and see' simultaneously? Tumor markers worry me, but they are not to be redone until June. I have an appointment after that. Self exams? Heck. I've got scar tissue and pains and I can't tell what is the new normal from what might just be abnormal. I tell myself that the mammogram showed no change. I'll just wait and see, just I'm supposed to. The fact that no one seems to understand that a patient might find this time just a wee bit stressful is more than I can take sometimes.
Side note: I saw a friend down town, and I jumped from the truck to visit with her as Tim looked for a place to park. I asked her how she was doing, and she said, "I quit the tamoxifen. I could not get into the cab of the heavy equipment for the joint pain." (She and her husband have owned an excavation company for years) She looked square at me. "It's about quality of life too, not just quantity. I just told 'em, I wasn't taking it any more. I feel great. It's been about two weeks and I feel great."
I walk away, stunned at her courage. I know that I can make the same choice. I also know that I won't. Man. So any of you got any survival tips out there?