I can feel that I am at a turning point. A shift in perspectives and attitudes which will bring a shift in activities, reactions, responses. I recently had my “annual” oncology appointment. It had been two months of stress built up – from the first of June when they said my lab test request would be in the mail for me until August 2nd when I actually got to see a representative at the oncology office. The regular routine, which I know from my past six years of doing this dance is: lab tests, scheduling PET or CT and MRI scans, then seeing the oncologist. Sounds simple enough but time after time I have fallen through the cracks in the over burdened cancer machine. I have learned to follow up in a timely manner with the things that are supposed to be taken care of.
When the lab request did not arrive June 1st, 2nd or 3rd, I called and requested they call the lab requests in, so I could get things taken care of in time for my July 25th appointment. They called in the request and I called the imaging office to find out how far out they were booked so I could keep things on track. Seems lots of people are getting cancer and the imaging services was booked weeks, if not more, out in advance. I have known this from previous experiences, so it is always a bit of a stressor to get things scheduled. This year was no different, the attendant told me they could get the CT’s scheduled but the MRI would have to be scheduled the following month. Every time I learn something new, this year I learned that the blood tests are “valid” for three months. Ok, that allows for some leeway. Once the blood tests were done I contacted the doctors office to ensure they got the requests sent over right away for the imaging scans. Everything takes time in this process. It make it difficult for the patient who is wondering what is going on. It is part of life. The lesson is to trust and have faith that all is well and just as it should be. I have been in this place before. Trust, faith, allow but stay diligent. And Patience!! Don’t forget the patience that is required for this dance.
The following week I got the call from the imaging office to schedule my ct scans. I had three to schedule; face, neck, and torso. We were able to get those scheduled for a couple weeks prior to my doctor’s appointment. They did not have a request for an MRI of my brain, which has been a part of the scan routine since the beginning. I contacted the oncologists office to find out if it had been missed or is something she felt was no longer needed. The nurse called back to let me know that the doctor had said yes to the MRI. This took several more days, into the next week for insurance approval and such. There was not space available for me to get the MRI done before meeting with the oncologist. I went ahead and scheduled for the next available opening. I was figuring I could meet with the doctor and she could tell me how awesome I was, then if there were any problems on the MRI she could contact me. I didn’t expect any as I felt fine. In hindsight, this gives me an opportunity to laugh at myself for how I think I have everything under control.
I got the results from the CT scans the afternoon they were done. I know how to read and have several years of experience at looking up medical terms I don’t understand, as well as learning from the doctors and nurses in discussions over the years. The summary on all three scans reflected all is well, no indication of any metastasis. I have learned over time that a PET scan will tell the activity level of the cells. CT scans show any abnormalities. I had a couple of little things going on but nothing of concern. Most of what is going on can be mitigated through diet and exercise; non blockage kidney stone and high cholesterol. The report reflected a couple of “shoddy” lymph nodes, which I now know mean “active” lymph nodes. These were the things that my previous oncologist said “lit up in my neck”. At that time I miss understood what he meant. Now I reflect on lymph nodes and their activity as being what nature intended. They are doing their job, sometimes getting enlarged as they do their work.
It had now been six weeks since I started watching for the lab requests in the mail, my oncologist appointment was set for the following Monday. Late Friday afternoon I get a message on my answering machine that they have cancelled my oncologist appointment as the doctor wants to have all the results from all the tests when she sees me. They rescheduled my appointment for August 2, another three weeks to wait… argh. I was not feeling very loving, though I knew that there is a lesson in this for me, and once I figured it out I will see the blessing.