"No Matter What I Do...All I Think About is You.."
Except the "you" in this equation is plural, because I mean Oncologists. And this Dilemma isn't quite as sexy as Kelly and Nelly. I mean, granted they had a big issue, don't get me wrong, but they weren't dealing with Cancer.
Now that I have officially lost my readers that don't love a good hip hop reference with a side of cancer, I will get to the point.
As many of you know, the past few weeks have been affectionately referred to as "Tour de Oncology." We have been visiting different Oncologists, getting second opinions on my 50 Shades of Gray situation. (Which is actually how the winning Oncologist referred to my case. More on that later.)
We first hit up the home team Oncologist at Mt. Sinai, which is where I had my surgery and where all of my other doctors are. Steve and I surveyed the waiting area very carefully, looking for sick patients, and looking for people that looked healthy. Everything. We actually saw a gentleman stop in to personally thank the Oncologist for something. We are assuming she saved someone's life, so score 1 for Sinai. You have a save under your belt, you are ok by me.
Yes, this is how the mind of an anxious cancer patient thinks.
When we sat down to speak with her, it was very clear she wasn't all about the pleasantries. She was all business, and began rattling off stats about how my case is tough, that this is really my decision, etc. All things that we know. So, can you and the initials next to your name, come up with some sort of a recommendation?! Essentially, there is no easy answer.
She did tell us about a pretty big clinical trial called TailorX which will be reporting results in a few short weeks. Without boring you with a bunch of science terms, this trial is very specific to women with my exact case - Node Negative/ Estrogen Receptor positive Breast Cancer. The objective is to show what treatments are most effective for women in these cases. (e.g.- Chemo and Hormone Therapy or just Hormone Therapy alone.)
So there is an option of waiting a few weeks to see what those results will tell us.
We left the appointment feeling confused and a bit angsty. This is such a big decision that will impact our lives greatly, and we needed some clarity.
Enter, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
This past week, we hit up the mothership. This hospital is like the Chanel of Cancer treatment. Too often, I would almost feel inadequate when talking about where I had surgery, even though I loved my team -- Sloan is that good.
Steve immediately enjoyed the fact that they had some sort of espresso machine in the waiting room, so he went to go tinker with that.
I got to work on the Old Testament length packet of paperwork. I soon realized that some key papers were missing, and had to ask a receptionist several times if what he gave me was correct. Dude's desk looked like an episode of Hoarders, so I let it slide.
We were then taken into another room where we spoke to an Attending that worked directly with the Oncologist I was seeing. He was lovely, and very thorough. He explained that this particular Oncologist is very stingy with who she gives Chemo to, as she believes many patients are overtreated.
About a 45 minute wait in an exam room later, and in walks the dream team. The doctor was full of apologies for making us wait.
She went on for about 15 minutes going over everything the Attending reviewed with us.
In the end, she helped me make a decision. She took the anxiety out of it for me. We decided to start with Tamoxifen, (Hormone Therapy in pill form I take for 10 years) and then await the Clinical Trial results to see if Chemo is even necessary. She cracked jokes, she was assertive, and she put her hand on my shoulder to reassure me. Queen Bee.
In the end, Memorial Sloan Kettering is apart of the next chapter in my journey. I feel comfortable and confident that I have a resolution and a plan.
This concludes #TheDecision2018.