Wednesday, May 19, 2010


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?


Mrs.Spit said...

I don't. I wish to high heaven I did.

I know one day at a time. I know that people who advocate for themselves and their care are not bitchy.

Anonymous said...

That is really tough for you Deb - and for Tim too - my heart goes out to you both. We all have to have a time to grieve and work through our feelings. You are both having a rough road to travel - hopefully the smooth bits will increase for you both. Tim seems to do so well doing up your rentals - does anyone around want a handyperson? I know I'll be able to use one really soon!

I went through a couple of rough times in the early days after my op - and an earlier one for melanoma. But they are past now and I am down to yearly checks, thank goodness. It doesn't mean that you don't worry a little about a few negative signs now and again, but somehow they have passed - I just think, 'so far, so good' and try to 'think health' and get on with it.

Great news about your exams. Congratulations, you really deserve it.

An Tim deserves better too. I am cross with the person who raised his hopes unnecessarily. Somehow a letdown after that can be all the worse. Hugs to you too Tim.

And love and blessings to you both. Barb

Caroline said...

Its an up and down life now. One day fine, next day not so. Anyway, I think skipping a doctor appointment is not necessarily bad. But you probably want to make sure that you have the next one scheduled and when you go you tell them you did skip one. I personally think its no big deal. Waiting and seeing and being vigilant is a quick trip to insanity!

Kelly said...

Just because the person you talked to caught you at a low moment doesn't make you a bitch. We can't all be "chipper" all the time. We're human and have down moments that can lead to testy encounters with others.

Trust God to guide you to make the right decisions.

RedWifey said...

Does Tim paint? 'Cause we could use a painter.

I got nothin' but hugs for encouragement. May the Lord bring you today whatever it is that will carry you through.

Hugs Hugs and more hugs!

Anonymous said...


I've had lots of ups and downs these last several months. Once the cancer is gone you feel like all should be rosy, but it is not. It takes time. I've had weird aches and pains too and getting "reconstructed" adds new ones. You start feeling paranoid. My doctor told me if it consistently hurts and hangs around more than two weeks to have it checked out. She also said to worry more about "ouchies" than "achies."

And I totally understand how you felt with that nurse. You are going to have bad days. Allow yourself them and know you are not alone. Take care,

Kerry Osborne

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine what you are gonig through Debby ... but I've got lots of hugs here for you.

Heather said...

Hello, This sounds like what we have been thru. My husband has a problem which they can't figure out. We have been to the doctors and they tell us there is nothing wrong with him but we know different. Money gone and nothing to show for it. Yeah, know about appointments like that.It's terrible they just don't care. Hopefully good days come to you and my husband.