11 April 2013

Fourth of July

My surgery is scheduled for the fourth of July. Almost perfect! It feels right to know that while I’m having a long nap  – there are picnics & parades -  and fireworks filling up the sky.

However, the Fourth of July is four months away, and I’ve already waiting a long time, longer than the 6-12 months recommended by Dr Escargot. Last week I tried to reach his secretary to tell her that the wait was excessive, and I wasn’t being as ‘carefully monitored’, as I had expected to be. I spoke only to her answering machine. Monday morning I tried again, and realizing that she would never call me back, went down to the hospital and walked into her office.

‘Oh Hi!’ she said as though I’d just joined her lunch table in the school cafeteria. ‘Dr Escargot isn’t here right now. But he’ll be back in an hour. Want to wait?’ Damn right I wanted to wait, and I did.  I waited in the waiting room in order to tell him that I was tired of waiting.

We had a pretty good consultation, went over past treatment, and he agreed that we should try to speed things up. I told him that I needed to be more closely monitored, and he agreed it would be a good idea to get a mammogram. He filled out my thing-y I needed to bring to mammogram-land to book an appointment – and wrote in the bottom ‘ASAP’.

I walked over to mammo-land. They asked if June would work. I rolled my eyes. She scrolled through her appointment book and said ‘April 18?’ I told her I’d be out of town, but said, ‘I’m free tomorrow’. So she scrolled some more, made a little frowny face, and said, ‘8:30?’

What followed yesterday morning was a mammo, then another mammo (they found something suspicious that turned out to be scar tissue) and finally an ultrasound that brought back so many bad memories that I nearly leapt off the table and ran down the hall topless, and covered in jelly. But I didn’t.

I went to straight to Escargot, who had already read the mammo online, and talked to the ultrasound doc, and said everything was absolutely clear. ‘But,’ said Dr Escargot in his soft Spanish accent, ‘We are steel going to try for an earlier date’.

Fine. Half of me just want to get this over with. But the other half wants to celebrate Independence Day by being independent of my old breast tissue. Psychologically, I also like the fact that there will be so much going on with our neighbours to the south that it makes my surgery seem smaller (And more manageable) in comparison.

But mostly I just want fireworks.

7 April 2013

Waiting for DIEP

My oncologist told me that the further one gets from cancer treatment, the less enthusiastic they are about becoming a patient again. Well, no kidding.

I feel so nearly normal. Apart from the wild mood swings, night sweats, Buddah belly, deformed boob, and mild lymphedema, it’s like nothing every happened! According to Winona Judd, ‘Normal is just a cycle on a washing machine’. So I’m just as normal as I can be, and the thought of slipping into a hospital gown and walking into surgery seems like somebody else’s life. Not mine.

So I need to move forward. The wait for this surgery has gone on too long. It dangles in front of me like a carrot and as I move forward so does the date. Until recently, I’ve been happy to look at it from a distance; secretly hoping the day would never come. I’ve deliberately been running at medium speed but now it’s time to sprint ahead,  and put the damn carrot in the rear view mirror.

So I emailed my surgeon’s office and told them that it’s been almost a year since radiation, and I need to know what’s going on. Thirty seconds later, (Ping!) I received an email from Dr. Escargot saying  ‘I’ll work on it’.  Surprisingly, he didn’t say there’s ‘no rush’, nor did he say the usual stuff about scheduling being up to the other surgeon's office. Normally his secretary gives me a little speech about the difficulty of scheduling two surgeons and an OR room for an entire day. But Dr Escargot said none of that. The snail was taking action.

Twenty minutes later Dr Plastic Surgeon’s office called, and said they are making calls and would get back to me shortly.  So I sat in front of my computer, waiting for the Ping on my computer indicating that I had mail. But it never came.

But I needed an answer before the weekend.  Waiting isn’t working for me anymore. So I called the PS’s office, and his kind secretary gave me an update. She told me that they’d proposed two dates to Escargot, without any success. But, there was a third option she was proposing, and was waiting to hear back.

‘And what date might that be?’ I asked.

‘May 9’ she said.

Sounds perfect. I want that date. I should know by tomorrow. Fingers crossed.