Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Time to Look Back and Laugh...

Tomorrow morning, I start chemo. Yes, I've been looking forward to this since I first found out the good it can do for my outlook. And I'm totally not worried about the nausea and hair-loss side effects. But I'll admit that I'm nervous. Let me put it this way: At 10:15am, I'll sit in a chair, and a nurse whom I've never met will inject a poison into my bloodstream. Can anyone reading this claim that they would have a perfectly restful night of sleep? I don't think so.

But I'll reassure you that I've done and will do everything I can to be my own advocate. I've spoken to Maggie, my chemo nurse, about my concerns. Although she won't be there in the room due to her full schedule, she's given me the name of the head nurse who will be in the infusion room at the time (Allison). Maggie has spoken to Allison, who is aware that I will be double-checking everything. I know the generic and brand names for the drugs I expect to receive and I will check the bags. I will ask to see my chart and the calculations of how much I should receive based on my height and weight. I plan to report anything I feel immediately, regardless of whether they've warned me it's supposed to be happening. And in general, I will not be an easy patient tomorrow. I'm sure this'll get easier, but for the first day, all of this is necessary.

But anyhow, on to the title of this post because we all need a little laugh. Throughout this experience, I've had a few things said or done that were just completely mind-boggling. Now that my jaw is back in it's normal place, I can share them with you and we can all laugh.

First of all, when I was having my second opinion done at Upstate, they needed a copy of my mammogram and ultrasound from Crouse. I was told to stop by the Crouse records department and I hand-carried a CD into my appointment at Upstate. I gave it to the staff as I checked in and never thought about it again...until...

A few days later, after we'd chosen to use the doctors at Crouse, that very CD was mailed to us at home. Like I wanted my ultrasound pictures for my scrapbook or something. Do you think I should make the ultrasound of my cancerous tumor my Facebook profile picture? I can if you want me to. Since I'm a little savvy at blogging pictures now, and this one doesn't have any Frankenstitches, I'll show you this one right here without the need to click:

Looks just like those ultrasounds you see of babies, right? Even has the measurement marks (which seem to indicate that they rounded up when they called it 2.5cm) and the label on the bottom "RT Lump". Oh, and I have one of the tumor hanging out with its two little friends:

Now here's where I'm going to have to ask Ron to close his eyes, as no brother wants to see even the outline of his sister's boob. Note here that they've even manually circled the lump for my viewing enjoyment.

You may commence with your comments about how adorable my breast cancer is and offer your congratulations to Paul and me on this new addition to our life.

So now on to the other OMG-moment. I had an appointment with a nutritionist at the oncology center last week. As I entered her office, she had me sit down and said, "Before I begin, I want you to have a chance to ask any questions you may have." I smiled and said, "For these past few weeks, I have been questioning everything I have eaten in my entire life, wondering whether it caused cancer."

Now I can think of three possible responses she could make at this point.

Best answer: "Oh, Sweetie, you didn't cause this cancer. Please don't blame yourself. You might never know, or you might even find out that you have the BRCA gene and it would've happened no matter what."

Acceptable answer: "We will never know what caused your cancer, so don't go worrying about that. Let's just figure out how to prevent it from coming back."

I'm An Asshole answer: "Yeah. It could've been something you ate like ten years ago."

Guess which one she picked? I'm serious here. She just blamed a patient for her own breast cancer! THEN, I had to sit in a meeting with her, listening to her tell me what food are healthy to eat. And no, this wasn't a detailed "foods that prevent cancer" plan. She was telling me that I should eat fruits and vegetables, drink non-caffeinated beverages, and that organic foods are more healthy than generic.

Yeah, I didn't let that meeting last too long, and I'll probably request a different nutritionist if I see a need for one in the future. But at least we can look back and laugh at her.

1 comment:

  1. YOU ARE KIDDING ME! She chose the asshole answer! Clearly an incompetent boob (pardon the pun!) and a new nutritionist should be requested immediately. I would also provide feedback on her response to her superiors! Seriously... as if a cancer patient didn't have enough to stress about....let's just blame them for the cancer and then give them basic nutrition info that they learned in 6th grade. I keep asking myself what I would expect had I been in your shoes and I would've been hoping for guidance as to what the hell I can/should try to eat while going through this toxic chemo treatment to enable me to have as much energy as possible, as much nutrients as possible etc. so that I can continue to kick this cancer's ass. Can you tell that I'm worked up about this??? I must go and calm down now....this frustration ain't helping you any.....