By the time most of you read this, I’ll be back at PMH grilling my oncologist about my life, specifically how much of it I might expect to have, and what I can do to prolong both the quality and quantity of my years. I will ask her about clinical trials and who, in her opinion, is the Canadian expert on low-grade epithelial ovarian cancer and how I can get an appointment with this expert.
An anecdote from last week. I met with a psychiatrist in the psychosocial oncology department. She asked me about how I want to be followed and what I want to know. One thing I mentioned was that I want to know more about clinical trials, about how to find out about the ones that might help me and how to be referred. She said to me, The thing you need to remember about clinical trials is that they often sound very promising but are not necessarily an effective option. My internal voice said, You bitch, are you SERIOUSLY popping my one bubble of hope? but my external voice just said, Any option is better than no option. She couldn’t disagree.
I’m afraid I will walk into my oncologist’s office and get mad and ask her why she wasn’t there when the Birkenstock-clad surgeon told me I am untreatable when my oncologist told me I would be meeting with both the surgeon and herself. But that’s not an entirely relevant or helpful question. It will make me cry and it speaks more to my cancer-related abandonment issues (of which I have many) than to any line of questioning that will serve me with regards to the treatment and monitoring of this disease. Though, in a sense it is relevant. If she wasn’t there because she feels she is a non-important player in my disease management, then I need to find someone who feels differently.
I am both looking forward to and dreading this appointment. On one hand, I should be able to get some explanations and information about this disease and what I can expect from it (explanation and information I wasn’t able to wrest from the mind and mouth of Dr. Birkenstock). I need this information so I can advocate for myself. On the other hand, these visits are emotionally exhausting and leave me cranky for several days. I hate that.
But I’ll get over it. I always do.