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.