What I need

I went back to group therapy today. I didn’t love it when I went in the weeks before my surgery, but today I felt like I needed to be with women who have been there, women who are walking this same path. I’ve had a string of emotionally difficult days (weeks?) and I wanted to both acknowledge that struggle, and take steps to put it behind me.

I’m so glad I gave it another try. It was exactly what I needed.

I haven’t wanted to write about it here until I had made my decision, but I am breaking up with my oncologist. I’ve been uneasy about this relationship from my very first appointment way back in January. I only wish I had trusted my instincts and ended it before it began. It probably says a lot about me that I’ve been more concerned about making waves than finding a doctor I feel comfortable and safe with. I’m sure I need years of therapy to work through my special kind of crazy.

The truth is, I loathe confrontation. And this fact lands me in awkward situations over and over again. The path of least resistance is my default setting, and honestly, that’s no way to get to the other side of a life-threatening illness. I knew from the start that this oncologist was wrong for me. I have no doubt she genuinely cares about me, but she’s not my dream doctor. And the thought of spending the next 5 or 10 years with her fills me with dread.

So, I did what I hate to do and I made some waves. I left messages for my breast surgeon last week. Today I went to group therapy and talked to women who totally get it, and I spoke privately to the social worker there. Within an hour, I had a new oncologist, someone my breast surgeon refers to as “kind,” “thoughtful,” and “easy to talk to.”

So much good happened today simply because I finally got up the nerve to say this isn’t working for me. And standing right behind me were people who easily and quickly said, “Don’t worry, we’ve got this.” I can’t say I’ve really learned my lesson, but I hope in the future I will do a better job of asking for what I want. When I told the social worker that I’ve been beating myself up for not trusting my instincts, she told me to put away the hammer. “Don’t look back. It’s time to move forward.”

And so I will.


7 thoughts on “What I need

  1. Good for you! And, yes, don’t beat yourself up over any of it. Going forward, you have the right team for YOU and that’s all that matters. (For what it’s worth, my husband and I met with 3 different surgeons and 2 different oncologists before his surgery/treatment. We ended up going with a surgeon our oncologist didn’t know at the time (they are in two different health systems) but she now refers tons of patients to him and we love both of them.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done. I did the same myself with my surgeon and never looked back. It’s such a hard thing to do, it feels so personal towards that person, but you’re right to put yourself first and I bet it feels amazing! Keep it all up xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good for you, Kristen! I believe women generally want to avoid conflict and are people pleasers. We are our worst self advocates. It is in instances such as these that we need to take back some kind of control, because cancer takes much of that control from us. You need to have a say in who your team consists of. Continue to be true to yourself. I am proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good for you, Kristen. It will get easier as you get older to stand up for yourself when it comes to doctors.
    We always thought they were “Gods”, when I was young and in my twenties. Boy have I learned a lot
    in 50 odd years. They are just as human as we are, and have different personalities . I love that you went
    with your gut feeling and cut her loose. You are your mothers daughter.

    Much Central Coast Love,


    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can so hear your relief and relate to it as well. I remember breaking up with one of Sophie’s doctors many years ago. Despite him being one of the top neurologists in the country, he just wasn’t “right” for us. I never regretted that decision, and it strenghtened my resolve to trust my instincts. These days I really think one’s rapport with a physician is equally as important as how “good” their reputation.

    Liked by 1 person

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