Thursday, June 2, 2011


My datebook tells me I have a lot to do today before I head to Las Vegas tonight. I wish I could say I am taking a trip to take my mind off my upcoming surgery (while that is a side benefit, it's not the real reason I am going). Instead, I am accompanying two BFFs and one BFF daughter, the latter of which is competing in an athletic event in Vegas. And a road trip sounds soooo good right about now.

          First things first, though. I pick up my car, which has been in the shop due to a broken automatic-window-control thingy. Then I stop by the dentist to cement a crown and get my teeth cleaned. For some unknown reason, I decide to tell the hygenist I have breast cancer and of course I start to cry. (And no, I really didn't see that one coming!)

          Next up: my pre-op appointment with my internist, Dr. S., in preparation for my January 19th lumpectomy. But he is not in today. Instead, I see a doctor I've never seen before. She greets me in 3-inch heels and carries a folder with the pathology report from my biopsy in her hands. She glances down at it and says (quite casually), "So, you'll be having chemo then?"

          Me: "WHAT?"
          Daffy Doc continues: "I see you are estrogen negative."
          Me: "No, I'm not! I'm estrogen and progesterone positive — I'm HER2 negative!"
          DD: "Oh, I must have read that wrong." Pause. 
          DD (again): "I see your BRCA test is negative."
          Me: "WHAT? That can't be back yet. It's too soon. Are you sure?"
          DD: "Well, that's what Dr. S. typed it in here. Why would he type it in if it wasn't in?"

Now my blood pressure is on the rise. She asks me a few real questions (not inane assumptive statements) and then a nurse comes in to draw my blood and run an EKG. I'm handed a referral for a chest Xray (which I have to get at another location on the other side of town). On my way out, I ask the nurse at the front desk for a copy of my BRCA results. Guess what? They can't find them. The nurse that drew my blood pipes in: "I haven't seen any BRCA test results come in yet." Really? How surprising.

          I wish medical professionals would be a tad more sensitive; these tests, these stats, are a VERY big deal. And when my info is treated nonchalantly like this, it makes me feel whittled down to a bare nub of a patient — just a number on a chart that can easily be misread. Not on my watch. This is MY life we're talking about!

          I look at my cell phone and realize I have barely enough time to get the chest Xray and then get home to make dinner before my BFFs arrive. We have a quick bite, hop in the car and steer it towards the freeway. We laugh, we joke, we sing, we break a tail light.  BFFs are great!

          We roll into Vegas exhausted, and plop down onto our big, comfy pillow-top beds. Oh yeah, this is exactly what I need.

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