I met with a new oncologist yesterday. Truth be told, I had several mini-meltdowns, at work no-less, trying to get an emergency referral to this new doctor. I’m on my “off” week for my chemo-cycle and needed the referral, be seen and have the medication ordered and delivered, by today, in order to stay on track.
Prayers were definitely answered. If you have followed up to now, you know I have received less-than-stellar care for my cancer. To the point, the doctors should be sued. Yea, it was that bad.
I walk into this new office; very apprehensive. Very nice office staff. They pointed out coffee and tea were available, if I wanted some. Coffee? That HAS to be a sign! The computer system wasn’t cooperating, and the staff was apologizing to me for the wait and having to switch rooms. Respect? I’m not used that. Such a simple thing, yet so many people no longer offer common courtesies.
Then I met the doctor. She genuinely seemed concerned. Part of the reason is because I’m technically too young to have colon cancer; without a family history of it. I told her, what I have told a handful of doctors, there has been a lot of different cancer in my immediate family. She took note of it. Then mentioned something no one else has: Lynch Syndrome. She thinks I may have this. From what I have read on the syndrome, it would explain the cancer in my paternal grandmother, my father and my 37-year old sister, and of course, now me.
I have previously declined genetic testing because two previous doctors were focusing on my risk of breast cancer. They failed to elaborate when I didn’t see a need for it. Based on other family member’s testing, I am almost certain I have an increased risk of breast cancer. I didn’t need a test to confirm that.
My new oncologist pointed out, if I had Lynch syndrome, it’s more than just treating me; it could affect my children. They would have a 50% chance of having the gene that causes the syndrome, thereby increasing their risk of certain cancers.
I am extremely grateful and blessed that I have been assigned to an empathetic, compassionate and caring physician. This is how healthcare should be. It shouldn’t be getting patients in and out in record time with minimal information. Communication is so crucial, yet, often downplayed because too many doctors have their routine and expect patients to conform to it.
Toward the end of the appointment, she said, “you have five children and you need to live.” That almost brought me to tears. My chemo has been pushed out (more cycles added). Extra testing has been ordered. Vitamin D has been added to my daily dose of pill consumption. There will be a PET scan and other testing once all the chemo has been concluded.
Overall, my prayers and those praying for me have been answered. Prayers are still needed (and welcomed) as this battle is far from over. At least now I feel like I have a fighting chance.