Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chapter Four (Meeting with the Consultant)

The day arrived when I was going to have everything explained to me regarding the mammogram and sonogram that I had gone through earlier in the week. Although I wasn't really looking forward to it, I knew that it wasn't going to be as bad as I thought it was going to be. I wasn't one of those people who was always sick or had migraines or had a regular doctor even. I wasn't allergic to anything. I wasn't even overweight.

    I drove myself to my appointment. After all, it wasn't necessary for Scott to be there just to hear them say that I was going to be fine. I could call him over the phone for that. We had already discussed that we would meet after my appointment for lunch.

    I sat in the waiting room. This time I was prepared. Although I didn't bring my laptop I did bring a book. It always made me feel good to have a book on me. Sure, doctor's offices have stuff to read, but I want something of my own choosing that I can dog ear and even mark up if I choose.

I couldn't remember a time in my life when books weren't important to me. They were often the only companions I really trusted. This book I held in my hand was no different. This book would be the only witness to this meeting between me and what I had decided to call 'the consultant.' I didn't want to think of myself meeting with a doctor. Doctors weren't meant to be questioned. After all they were the 'experts.' Consultants, on the other hand, would give you their opinions and then you had the chance to ask them questions and eventually decide for yourself. I wasn't planning on dealing with anymore 'experts' I had decided to start dealing with consultants.

    I had found Dr. M through a friend. Carol owned the local herb store and someone had come by with a book written by Dr. M. In his book he talked about preventing breast cancer through proper nutrition and the use of bio-identical hormones. Carol had become intrigued and handed me the book as soon as I had told her about the initial diagnosis. After reading the book I searched out this doctor and found that he was located less than an hour from me. I called to make the appointment and was told that it would be several weeks before an opening would be available. Okay. I'll wait.

    I had promised Meria (my doctor) that I would keep her updated so I picked up the phone to give her a call. When I told her about the delay and that I was fine with it she sounded noticeably concerned that waiting that long was not a good thing. She made a couple of phone calls and was able to get me in within a week. I was almost disappointed that the she was able to get me in sooner. After all, if they didn't think it was important enough for me to come in I figured it wasn't that serious. Evidently Meria didn't think the same way I did. The day of my appointment I left my house early enough to swing by the Diagnostic center to pick up my films to take to Dr. M. I was glad not to have to be going back there and I secretly hoped that I would not run into Dr. V. I didn't want to have her ask me what I had decided to do especially since I hadn't decided to do anything yet other than stall. I picked up my films and hurriedly made my way back down the same elevator where two weeks earlier I had misplaced my brain.

    I was fifteen minutes early for my appointment with Dr. M. I had completed my paperwork prior to arriving there. This was done with the help of a fax machine and a very efficient office manager. Who ever thought you could fill out paperwork for your doctor ahead of time? Was this a sign of progress? Perhaps I am in the right place after all.

    Dr. M walked into the room and I liked him instantly. He looked at my films all the while explaining everything to me. Then he looked at my sonogram results explaining those to me also. I was waiting for him to say something like 'I don't see anything really out of the ordinary, why don't we give it a couple months and see what happens.' I was waiting for him to say it but instead he said. 'I know you don't want to hear this but I think we really need to have a biopsy done. The sooner we get the results on this the sooner we can talk about viable options.' He wrote something on my chart, smiled and said that he would have a nurse schedule me for an appointment. We talked about his book and how I found him and why I wanted to come to see him and how I thought even if it were malignant that he could cure me with nutrition and supplements and that surgery would not be necessary. His smiled faded as he began to explain to me that there was no alternative if the biopsy returned a malignant result. Surgery was necessary. Chemo and radiation however might be optional depending upon the results. The best thing for us to do right now was to send me for blood tests and then for the biopsy. We could then go from there.

    Then he said, "You are young and in good health, with surgery and all the progress that we have made in understanding cancer you could live a long and productive life."

    What was that sound? That loud thud. It sounded like the first nail being pounded into my coffin.
Long and productive life?
You don't say 'could live a long and productive life' to someone who 30 minutes earlier thought the worst was behind her. My heart was racing. I know that he could tell there was something wrong since the color was now gone from my face.

    My only question, "Do you mean that I could die from this?"

    That's when he started quoting statistics on how many women survive breast cancer and lead 'long and productive lives'. How we shouldn't jump the gun until we have all the test results back and can make decisions based on facts. How I should not be worried and how we needed to take it one step at a time.

    Let's just go get the blood tests done and schedule a biopsy. He would see me after the test results had been sent back to him. He smiled, shook my hand and asked me to visit the nurse at the front who would give me my appointment for my biopsy.

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