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double down doctors

So my daughter and I finished our whirlwind college tour of the Northeast (on Thursday), and I was back in town for two doctor's appointments (on Friday).

With little sleep and a lot of questions, I hit the ground running...

The Breast Surgeon

So, this was my breast surgeon from Cancer 2013. He did my port surgery and lumpectomy. Now, he was the first doctor I was actually meeting with to discuss my Cancer 2023. FACT - we all know that should have been my Oncologist. However, if you have been keeping up with my journey, you realize that my Onc is not exactly doing what she should... more like what a doctor should not.

Let's get the interesting stuff on the blog first - he feels my boobs up with his eyes closed. It is a little weird. I am lying on the table with my husband next to me getting my breasts felt up by another man while a female nurse watches alongside my husband. If that isn't a complicated and odd sentence... and a sentence no one thinks they will write?!? 

He doesn't feel much because I do not have a physical tumor to feel in my breast. However, he does ask if my lymph nodes were swollen at all on the side. I say they are, and he feels them with a slightly loud gasp and agrees. Not exactly reassuring that the cancer isn't spreading... kind of the opposite. However, I know this is part of the process.

Here's what he did say in brief (plus, some bonus snide comments that I have to add because I already know what happens)...

1. I need a Port Surgery. What he says? It is super easy. We will go in right where we went before. If needed, I might have to go in on the left, but it is a 10 minute easy surgery that I will get set up right away. 

(Snide Me: It failed... he tried 3 times surgically... and his nurse even canceled the follow up appointment because he didn't put in the port so it wasn't considered a surgery - yes, he drugged me and cut me in multiple locations... I bet his place still charges me for the surgery even though it didn't work!)

2. My Treatment Plan. What he said? It is pretty much already decided (even though I haven't seen an Oncologist). He is taking my case will be reviewed at a board of 35 doctors the following Thursday and they will all agree on what I need to do with Chemo, Surgery, Radiation. He will call me with their response. 

(Snide Me: This is a Tumor Board of Special or Challenging Cases that he didn't fully tell me about... he was vague... and acted like it was the normal procedure for any patient... he didn't tell me the full truth about it... which I don't like. I also don't like when he implies I have to do what they say and do not have a say in my own treatment plan. By being slightly dishonest, it feels fully dishonest.)

3. I need an Oncologist, but it is complicated. What he says? When I arrived, I told the nurse about my Onc issues. She assured me the Breast Surgeon would have some great referrals. Guess what? He is on the Board where my current Onc is and he tell me that he cannot really refer anyone to me because of that. He says my Onc is the best - and I kindly disagree. He can either sorta secretly name a few or basically I need to figure it out for myself.

(Snide Me: You cannot give a referral to a patient? You are bound to not give a professional opinion? No way! You are a Breast Surgeon for women in our area... and you are on the board at one facility while working with women from all facilities... which is fine, but not if it makes you not serve your patients. I just have to say... WTF?

Primary Doctor

I really like my family doctor. He is upfront and direct with me. He looked at all my reports and say, "This is out of my wheelhouse." And I respect that.

We talked a long time during our appointment about the need for an Oncologist that I trust, has decent bedside manner, can handle me going to MD Anderson for a 2nd Opinion without being ridiculously insulted, and up for a challenging breast cancer case. And finally, I got a solid and upfront Onc referral with someone my Primary thinks I will like. Not only is it a referral, but he put in a urgent referral so they would make sure to get me in quickly.

Then he explained to me what the Breast Surgeon did not do very well - that my case is going to the Tumor Board which reviews unusual cases. It is 35 Oncologist, Radiation Oncologists, Surgeons, and other doctors who all work together to figure out the very best treatment plan. It is a great thing to have that many doctors looking at my cancer situation... it is also a terrifying thing to need to be sent to the Tumor Board at all.

We go over all the things we can, but in the end he says he will defer to the Oncologist. And at least now, I think I have one... 

Get ready to envy me Teddy Roosevelt! 


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