I met with a new oncologist today. And I loved him. I’m just not sure I loved what he had to say. Honestly, I don’t know what I was expecting to hear, but I think I had convinced myself that since I couldn’t take Tamoxifen, I wouldn’t need to take anything. I let myself believe, in this gap between oncologists, that it was over. It’s not over.
Dr. D is kind, thoughtful and generous with his time. I must have been his last appointment of the day because when I asked if he would mind one more question, he smiled and said, “Take as long as you need.”
The plan he outlined is this: I need to either have my ovaries removed or chemically shut down. And then I need to take an aromatase inhibitor for five to ten years. The brand name of the drug he is suggesting is Aromasin. The small little wrinkle in this plan is my six weeks in California. Ideally, Dr. D would get me started immediately, but because this class of drugs has such a long list of mostly annoying, but sometimes awful and scary side effects, he doesn’t want me “adjusting” to the therapy while I’m 3,000 miles away from him. The one thing he does want me to do before I go, is to meet with my gynecologist so that we can decide on a plan for my poor useless ovaries.
I keep telling myself that waiting is not a big deal, my risk for recurrence is so low. But there’s still a risk. And it’s cancer. If it comes back, it comes back in one of my other organs or in my bones and the thought of that is beyond frightening. Dr. D’s advice is to keep our trip as scheduled, but I sensed he would have been a lot happier if I planned to spend the summer with him taking my anti-hormone therapy. When you look at the numbers, the odds are in my favor — even if I did nothing, no more drugs, no more treatment — the odds are in my favor. But I don’t trust the odds. I’m pretty sure I have bad luck. And it feels like I’ve already wasted so much time.
I’ll make an appointment tomorrow with my gynecologist and maybe in light of what she has to say, I’ll feel more relaxed about delaying treatment. But I may also decide to cut the trip short by a couple weeks. I’m not sure how much that will help in the long run, but it may be just enough to ease some of my anxiety.
Just a quick note to add that James is responding well to the insulin, his blood sugar level is pretty solidly in the normal range now. It’s been a big adjustment, a lot to process — for all of us — but we’re getting the hang of it.
Boy, they aren’t kidding when they say, “as long as you have your health…” And it’s true. We know we have much to be grateful for, not the least of which is that we have access to incredible doctors and excellent medical care. But wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t need it?