Oh right. Doctors.

It’s finally time to meet the surgeon who will possibly be in my life. On Wednesday morning, I’m schlepping up to Sunnybrook Hospital to the Odette Cancer Centre to find out if this guy is as arrogant and rude as is claimed. Whether he’s sweet as sugar or mean as a snake, I’ll probably be taking my pants off for him. And possibly for a student or two. This appointment comes six weeks, three faxes, and four phone calls after the initial referral. Please, everyone. Take your time. It’s only cancer.

I don’t know where the breakdowns are happening. I suspect no single hospital is responsible. Apparently PMH still doesn’t have a copy of my medical records from Montreal despite the fact that I have filled out no less than three requests to have those sent over. Fortunately, I have copies of my original surgery and pathology reports from my initial diagnosis (which Sunnybrook has requested). I don’t know where the breakdown is happening — I suspect it’s on Montreal’s end —  but this also makes me angry as I am pretty sure it means that when I asked Dr. Surgeon-the-first if he had actually looked at my pathology report from Montreal (after he made me fill out a second request to release medical records), and he assured me that it was fine because he’d looked over my file as sent to him by Dr. Oncologist-I-Like, he was looking at records consisting entirely of information I provided the oncologist myself. Does anyone else see a problem there? I mean, I did press him to tell me what he understood my history to be and it was correct (to the best of my knowledge), but I’m just a patient. What if I forgot something? Or didn’t understand something from those reports that were written almost eight years ago?

It shouldn’t be this difficult to get copies of my medical records sent to my current doctors. As it stands, I am probably going to have to go to Montreal and pick them up myself just to ensure everything ends up in my file in Toronto. I am also going to request that I get a copy of everything currently in my Toronto file. Because clearly there are things missing, and I need to figure out what those things are.

On the positive side of things, when the appointments necessary are located at PMH, I am able to make them fairly quickly. I booked a CT scan and follow-up appointment with my oncologist about six weeks ago. I go for the scan next week and the follow-up the week after. And then I’m going to hide out in New York for a week because whatever news I get, I know I won’t like it. There is not a single thing anyone can tell me at any of these appointments (other than, It’s a miracle! The cancer is gone!) that I will actually like. Surgery, no surgery, chemo, no chemo — it’s all shitty, shitty bullshit. There is no silver lining to anything I can be told, so I am warning everyone in advance to not look on the bright side of any news or decisions these appointments might bring. I will cut anyone who says, “At least it’s not . . .” or, “Well, the good thing is now you know!” or, “That’s good news, right?” First, for every bad thing that “this” is not, there are a kajillion awesome things it also isn’t. It might not be growing quickly, but it is also not a cute and furry litter of kittens. Or a trip to Paris. Or a million dollars. Or perfect health. Second, the only good thing I can learn is that a) the cancer is gone or b) the cancer is not growing. Since a) is unlikely, I will accept optimism and happy thoughts in two weeks if it ends up being option b). In fact, if I find out the cancer isn’t growing, I’ll bring everyone back a souvenir from New York. If the cancer has miraculously disappeared, I’ll bring everyone back New York. The whole goddamned city. Finally, if you have to ask if something is good, it probably isn’t. If it is unclear to people that a good thing is good, I will clarify the goodness, if only because I love congratulations that aren’t prefaced by “self”.

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About Alicia Louise

I'm a writer, editor, fact checker, storyteller, events organizer, chronically busy yet endlessly lazy, mildly neurotic (though I keep the neuroses well-hidden, one hopes) 32-year-old with recurrent ovarian cancer. I like people and good writing and straight talk. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people, including myself, but the people that I love, I love passionately; one may even say creepily. I try to keep that mostly to myself. I'd like to be charming, but I'm usually just a mess. I'm like a gull slamming into your windshield.
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One Response to Oh right. Doctors.

  1. Terri says:

    I think telling people to look on the bright side is the shittiest advice anyone can give. Big bear cyberhugs to you, and I hope the mess you are dealing w/ re: medical records is resolved soon.

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