Meeting my Second and Third Oncologists
A whole different planet from my first experience. A few things that stuck out to me from our two days spent at Huntsman...
the harp player in the main lobby who we could hear all the way up in our waiting room on the second floor
the high vibration of the whole facility - the presence of hope and much less heaviness and grief in the building, the staff and in the doctors themselves
the way patients were greeted by the staff & nurses with smiles and questions like "How's your day going?" - and the message to my brain that having cancer doesn't necessarily equate to always having a bad day
the awareness that we left both appointments more peaceful and hopeful than when we walked into them (an amazing feat for oncologists)
the way the two doctors (one a gyn onc surgeon, the other a gyn medical onc) engaged with us, listened and responded thoroughly to long lists of questions - impressive
the frankness of the medical oncologist about where the limits and unknowns of allopathic medicine are in the treatment of cancer
the realization afterwards that numbers related to my chance of survival were never brought up or into the conversation, only information about improving it
the clear picture that I'm an outlier - I don't fit the profile in any way for those most likely to get ovarian cancer, and the presentation and progression of my cancer is atypical as well. Because I don't fit the mold, research can't tell us exactly what will work best in my case. Thus, a lot of decisions about how to proceed are totally in my lap (timing of surgery and chemo regimen schedule). This feels really good.
the flyers everywhere about yoga, tai chi, meditation, acupuncture, and massage, all available on site to patients and their families. After briefly recounting my journey through the world of alternative and holistic health care over the past eight years, the doctor hooked me up with an on-site doctor trained in integrative medicine who will now become a part of my team. Very cool. I also left with an acupuncture appointment (which I've always wanted to try) for help with hot flashes. The nurse's comment, "Our acupuncturist is AMAZING and got me through chemo!"
the thought, during my exam, that it would have been much nicer to have cancer of the arm - pelvic exams are for the birds (whatever that means)
the realization that our first oncologist experience was a gift in disguise and the perfect prelude to where we finally landed
the amusing conversation I had with three 2nd-year med students who were on site doing rotations. One of them said he wanted to specialize in ENT. After watching him through the appointment where we hashed through lots of "pelvis" issues, we decided he was trying to get as far away from between the hips as possible :)
Steve's line as we left our first appointment and got into the car (which was brought up by the free valet service), "Mer...I'm feeling HOPE."