Why Be Treated By the Best for #MyLeftBoob #TripleNegative #BreastCancer ? It’s a No-Brainer!

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Last Wednesday I went to Sloan Kettering for a second opinion because I did not feel comfortable or confident at the hospital where I was being treated. On the day of the consultation the new doctor found a second lump, something three doctors at the other hospital missed. Scary. They recommended I go in for a PET Scan so I went last Friday. I am still waiting on pins and needles for results. What’s a PET Scan you ask? It stands for Positron Emission Tomography.

The nurses draw blood, poke me with an IV, shoot me in the vein in my hand with saline, followed by a radioactive tracer, make me drink sugar-water and sit still for an hour, then stuff me into a hollow tube. There I am told to lay perfectly still for about 45 minutes, trying not to sneeze or scratch my nose, so they can see if my insides glow and if the cancer has spread.

I’m still waiting for the “official” results but the doctor said it is nothing to worry about. She said it’s probably because I got the infection on my left side that the lymph nodes got swollen on my right. But alas, I am still waiting on that “official” word and the waiting is the hardest part.

So many people have asked me why go “all the way there” (a whopping 45 minutes) when I can go somewhere closer. That’s why. And this…

My doctor never spoke to me after lumpectomy surgery or checked in the next day. After the pathology reports came back, the doctor told me over the phone that I have “a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer,” a call lasting less than two minutes. I tried asking about treatment, prognosis or anything to reassure me that I’d be okay. The doctor didn’t answer any questions and told me I’d have to wait until the following week to ask the oncologist because that wasn’t their department.

On the same night I found out I had Triple Negative and was still processing the news, I had to go to the emergency room for a skin infection at the surgery site. I felt uncomfortable about letting a young and admittedly inexperienced physician’s assistant work on me so I called my doctor to ask if there was another doctor who could see me. The response I received was as follows: “I’m on call every night but I’m home now. I don’t LIVE at the hospital.”  Did someone say something about bedside manner?

Also- I had an allergic reaction to the soap they used during surgery and they never put it in my chart. If I hadn’t said something, they could’ve made the same mistake and my reaction could’ve been worse next time.

Why be treated by a doctor who treats their patients like this, didn’t document my allergic reaction and missed a lump? I feel very good about being treated at Sloan Kettering and at peace knowing I am in good hands. I will be treated by the top cancer doctors in the country.

The next procedure is getting a port put in my chest to make it easier for chemotherapy. Every time I go for chemo they need to draw blood to test white cell counts which can be very taxing on veins, especially mine, which are small. I can only get blood drawn from my right arm since I had surgery on the left side.

Chemo begins April 1st every other week for 16 weeks followed by 6 weeks of radiation. These are 2 1/2 to 3 hour-long treatments (compared to “regular” 45 min. they give to other cancer patients). Chemo goes through an IV straight through the port. From what I’ve heard, treatments #1 & 2 will make me tired and sick to my stomach, but #3 & 4 are “horrendous” and feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck. Yay me! Maybe all that boot camp and clean eating I did before my diagnosis will pay off and it won’t be as bad for me? Maybe.

When chemo and radiation is finished, I’ll be checked every 4-6 months for 5 years because this type of cancer has a higher chance of coming back. When I reach the 5-year mark the chances get less and less. Then at the 7-year mark the chances get even lower.

BUT…..I am focusing on the positives: It’s only Stage I and has not spread to my lymph nodes, as far as we know at this moment. Once the PET Scan results are back we’ll know for sure. I am young, strong and healthy.

Last weekend and today was a real struggle dealing with so much drama and unwanted advice….not something I need to be dealing with while Ishould be focusing all of my energy on staying positive and getting better.

I’ve been dealing with numerous people, not just one, sending advice: friends, acquaintances, classmates, blog readers, social media followers, followers of my “work” articles, and people I haven’t been in my life for decades but now suddenly feel the need to tell me what to do.

There is nothing that I did that caused my Triple Negative cancer- not diet, not birth control pills, not food or drink or any outside environmental factors. It is found in African-American and Latin women and is caused by the BRCA gene. It is hereditary. And even if it was a “normal” type of cancer caused by any of those factors, what good is bombarding me with messages on what caused it going to do?

From medical marijuana to teas, from cleansing and cancer killing vitamins to herb and veggie juicing, I’ve heard it all. But the funniest so far was from a person who is manic-depressive and weighs 350+ pounds counseling me on proper diet and nutrition. If those same people spent half as much time researching Triple Negative as they tell me about what I “should or shouldn’t” be doing, they would understand my situation a whole lot more and make all of our lives easier.

Here is the best explanation I’ve heard of what I’ve been going through with dozens, if not hundreds, of people who are sending me articles or commenting about why I got cancer:

“Just like when you slip and fall, it doesn’t matter how it happened. It only matters that someone nearby offers to help you up. The one that comes over and starts telling you why you fell, how you can stop from falling, criticizing your choice of shoes, how fast you walk, etc. should keep their opinions for someone who isn’t just getting up off the ground. Offer a hand and save the words for soothing, supporting, not criticizing.”

Click below for more info on Triple Negative:

http://www.tnbcfoundation.org/

Will you join my fight? CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

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