Monday, April 1, 2013

Two Times The Fun

Funny thing happened last month when I arrived at my annual ob/gyn appointment. Seems I was a wee little bit early for the appointment, as in, um, one month early.  A waiting room full of people got to witness my humiliation as I slunk out of the office and went home. The worst part was I had already gotten myself psyched up for the procedure to come, only to have my efforts wasted. WASTED. And exactly one month later, I have to do the whole thing all over again.

Due to my proven poor calendar skills, I went on to discover I had scheduled my monthly oncologist appointment for the same day as my ob/gyn appointment (the REAL one this time), with very little turn around time between the two. The silver lining here (you KNEW there'd be one, didn't you?) was I got out of dressing like the Easter bunny for the preschool Easter parade and egg hunt (and I was sooooo looking forward to it). 

Trial run as the Easter bunny. Probably for
the best I had to give up the gig.
The morning of my appointments, I took a nice, long shower, cutting my legs to ribbons when I was shaving them. Picked out pretty underpants, which is stupid, because NO ONE sees them. Slapped a little polish on my toenails. Lotioned myself up with Philosophy Amazing Grace (WHY IS IT THAT I DON'T GET PAID BY THEM TO ENDORSE THEM SO MUCH?!). Picked clothes based on how heavy they were first, how cute they were second (I was going to be weighed TWICE after all, if there's any fairness to that. Once at each doctor's office.) First stop: oncologist's office.

The oncologist asks the same basic questions about my overall health. "Feeling okay?" (Yes.) "Any menstrual bleeding?" (Oh, believe me when I say you will be the FIRST to know if THAT happens.) "Bone pain other than the aches you've already been experiencing?" (Nope.)  Then he'll ask me something I wasn't expecting. "Any dizziness or heart palpitations?" (What?!) We still go through the whole "look up, look down, look at my thumb, gee, you're dumb" routine each time I'm there. If I'm not careful, I get ahead of him. This visit, I had the added pleasure (said with sarcasm) of getting a breast exam.

The breast exam is weird because (a) the boobies have no feeling, but there's pressure when he's examining them, and (b) he was my friend first and my oncologist second, so it's still a little awkward to have him do this, as clinical as it is. So I stare at the ceiling and wait for it to be over. At one time, there was talk of me having an MRI to be used as a baseline at my one year anniversary, but Dr. Croy told me that insurance companies are balking at this procedure as unnecessary. As much as I detest having an MRI, I find this a little unnerving.  There's still breast tissue there; it's impossible for every bit of it to be removed during the mastectomy. But unless a lump of some kind is felt through a manual exam, then the insurance companies aren't interested in spending money on screenings. Sigh.

From the oncologist's office, I go to the infusion center for the shot of Zoladex in my stomach.  The nurses let me choose the spot for the shot each month, which I do by closing my eyes and poking around on my ahem, flat tummy for the numbest area. (Yeah, the area from about an inch below to two inches above my abdominal incision is still numb, just like the boobular area.) Then it's out the door and off to the next appointment.

Nekkid except for this snazzy gown.
I have technically been a patient of Dr. Lacey's for about six years, but I have always seen his nurse practitioner, Susan. (I talk a little about her and the roll she played in my diagnosis here, if you're interested.) I've only seen him once, right before he performed a d&c and endometrial ablation on me in early 2012, and I don't remember that very much, because I had already been given some happy juice, followed by general anesthesia. But I felt as though he and I needed to have a face to face meeting (insert your own joke here) and talk about my ovaries.

So, there I sat on the exam table, naked except for the gown (open to the front) with a paper blanket over my lap, chatting about my ovaries with Dr. Lacey.  The first words out of his mouth?  "I don't want to touch that tram flap." Removing the ovaries (an oophorectomy, which is a silly sounding word) would require three incisions in my beautiful tummy, and then it wouldn't be so beautiful anymore. And insurance probably wouldn't be real keen on it, since the Zoladex injections were working for me. (Apparently, going down through my throat is NOT a viable option, although you never know until you ask.) He asked if I were having any menstrual bleeding. (As the ablation he did was supposed to take care of that, he would be the SECOND one to know if I had, right after I got off the phone with the oncologist.) I shared with him the 37 day siege that started in the hospital, two days after my bilateral mastectomy, and that I had been laying for him at the time, and he did look properly chagrined. (Feel free to brush up on THAT story here.)

Exam time, part one. Enough said.

Exam time, part two. Breast exam. Twice in the same day. In fact, twice within two hours. Not really that much less weird when you don't know the doctor than when you do.

Exam over, and Dr. Lacey's conclusion? I have THE BEST TRAM FLAP RECONSTRUCTION HE HAS EVER SEEN. In fact, he proclaims it "amazing." Shout out to Dr. Geter - I love youuuu!

Do you believe me now when I tell you the entire package is awesome?

And I'm resigned to the fact that the ovaries are here to stay. No phorectomy for my oo's. 

11 Zoladex injections down, 49 to go.


  1. Two things: 1., no wonder Chance is afraid of mascots and, 2., Pictures of Brad Pitt on the ceiling make the breast exam a WHOLE lot more enjoyable. Just sayin'.

    1. 1. The claustrophobia would have killed me anyway and, 2. I looked at that ceiling and thought about how nice it would be to have something besides ceiling tiles up there.

  2. Really, it is best for everyone that you were not the big bunny this year. That costume is scary creepy!

    1. In all honesty, I wasn't trying to be scary when that picture was taken. So, yeah, if I wasn't even TRYING and I was a creepy bunny, well....

  3. Damn, you have been through a lot. I hope your health stays healthy, and I hope you never ever wear that insanely creepy bunny costume again.

    1. You're one to talk! Can you say "creepy baby in a ski mask"? Ah, hell, who am I kidding? I LOVE that creepy baby.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks! Other than the doctor making me keep the stupid, over achieving ovaries, all is well.