Friday, August 28, 2009

"Cookie Cutter" Thinking Down the Rabbit-Hole

Today, I need to take a few detours. Full warning & I RANT! Beware of flying "d-bombs."

Sprinkled in between preparation and belligerently peppy is SURREAL. The journey that started on July 8, 2009, and the place I find myself at today can only be summed up as SURREAL.

The med-pros told me from the start that I am dealing with a 4 to 5.5 cm tumor. Each time I was diagnostically measured 5+ cm (and I had 4 levels of diagnostics) I got the qualification that, "its hard to tell with ILC ("invasive lobular carcinoma") BUT (and here is the kicker)...MRIs exaggerate the measurements of ILC tumors."  So, the expectation is that the malignancy will be closer, if not indeed smaller than, 4 cm.

So, when it comes back ... SURPRISE ... its a bouncing 6.2 cm. (NEARLY 2/3 OF THE SIZE OF MY LEFT BREAST!) (And for those in the studio-audience that have not gleaned the obvious, ample bosoms is...oops, I did it again...was not one of my physical attributes.)

Okay, that's cool. They took the whole SHATZBAT (thanks Kuwie!) and here I sit with my play-dough boobee (that is a tad bigger--certainly perkier--than the "lonely lady" next door - but that too will change with reconstruct round #2).

All of the above has been dealt with in a head-on fashion. Done! Fini!

Today, I had a sit-down with the med-oncologist (part of the med-pro squad) whom I chose because he at least admitted to being part of the industrial b.c* complex (plus, he has this really cool name: KATO - and I was just so enraptured with the Green Hornet's sidekick, Kato (aka Bruce Lee) as a kid). Oh, and he laughs at my jokes, REALLY! Someone truly does!

Sigh...but I digress...

So, we are having what I think is going to be this "team strategizing" meeting as to what should be my next treatment steps in this journey of "survival." I had the expectation that we would be discussing an individualized "treatment plan" specifically tailored to ME, moi, ya know... one of the (in)distinct individual "cogs" that keeps the industrial b.c. complex churning. Otherwise known as the individual patient!  Instead, I get "standard of care" party line! I get the perfunctory chemo, radiation, hormone therapy (replete with heavy-duty dosages of the "red devil" and Tamoxifen!).

I ask this Kato (who is so not looking like my childhood Kato anymore) and say...yeah, but that is the "cookie cutter" plan. What about me? The vacuous stare I received in response confirmed my worst preconceptions. He did recover quickly and replied defensively, no its not, it is based on the size of your tumor...(as he pulls out the cardboard stand-up that is used for "show n'tell" (??) and points to the 5 cm measurement scale)...see your tumor is off the display! Ahhh...I replied, I'm feeling the personalization now, I just needed the visual cut-outs!

This is advanced U.S. medicine (at least in the southwest) at its....? SURREAL Thank g-d I am one of the lucky medically insured in this country?!

It gets even stranger the further down the rabbit-hole I go. What the med-pros are offering is "adjuvant" therapy on a toxic-platter. (Meaning: the "just in case" treatment) The med-pros cannot tell me with any assurance that the lobbing-off of one of the ladies is definitive of my survival; they cannot tell me with any assurance that the toxic-buffet will be definitive of my survival; but they can tell me with a modicum of assurance that I will experience many, if not all, of the horrific side-effects if I partake in the meal-plan being offered; and my insurance will pay for it! Surreal

IF I choose not to dine at their buffet... well, then the med-pros can assure me that. . . .(????)


b.c. = "breast cancer"
industrial complex = that very lucrative niche industry that turns a greater profit in the name of the CAUSE than the CURE


  1. Oh Snooks, did you really say the "visual cut-out" thing? LOL-I can just picture his face... I miss laughing with you so much!

    Try not to be too hard on us med-pros. Can you imagine choosing oncology as a specialty? Good Lord, who are these people? I know though, that they have to remain somewhat emotionally detached or they could not function in their profession. A very dear friend is (gasp!) a pediatric oncologist-can you honestly imagine? He is the most tenderhearted MD I know. His wife told me often cries in his sleep-and he has been doing this for 15 years!

    You, my dear friend, will get through this. You have obviously not changed after all these years, and I don't believe I have met anyone I would more assuredly give a good prognosis to, based on your determination alone.

    Tamoxifen and the red-devil are no match for the likes of you. Have you picked out a blond wig yet? Seriously, what could be more exotic on an arapoan jewess? (I would say that say that to no one else-I know you will get a kick out of it-but will Howard?

    The only way I could comment was to join a google group, but you my dear, are worth it!

  2. I meant to say Arapahoan... And for some reason I have to post under anonymous (which I kind of like)but you know it's me, Kuwie (I still have a hard time actually typing that.)

  3. The hero's journey beckons her to enter the forest at the darkest part where there are no entrance pathways or signs of egress.Fearless Alice never stops to consider where she is going or how she will get home; she simply heeds the calling and moves into action: "...Straight like a tunnel that suddenly dips down with a feeling of falling down what seems to be a very deep well. It is too dark to see except when she looks closely at the walls of the well and sees cupboards and bookshelves filled with all kinds of interesting things. Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time? I must be getting somewhere near the center of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think. Yes, that's about the right distance - but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I've got to. Alice had not the slightest idea what latitude was, or longitude either, but she thought they were nice grand words to say". She has left the world above en route to the world below, where latitude and longitude denote navigational terms for maneuvering the twists and turns of a circuitous adventure. The darkness of the underworld cradles her and greets her imagination with illusions of the familiar.....dc from my "Once and Future Enchantment of the Heart" retold for the master of illusions, who like a magician asserts her position, draws analogies, creates chaos and appears not to fit any structural mold. She is the fearless one who never stops to consider where she is going or how she will get home, she simply heeds the calling. Curiouser and curiouser.

  4. "She has left the world above en route to the world below, where latitude and longitude denote navigational terms for maneuvering the twists and turns of a circuitous adventure. The darkness of the underworld cradles her and greets her imagination with illusions of the familiar....."

    I absolutely LOVE this!

  5. Blimey! Girlfriend - you go girl. Love the both the belligent and peppy. You have me crying and cracking up laughing all at the same time. I stand in total awe of you. And, wish I could be the proverbially fly on the wall when you are in "interrogation" mode with the "strategy team". Tell you what - I'll send you one of those spy camera/recorders that looks like a pen. Then you could upload to the blog.

    BTW - Traumeel sounds brilliant. Definitely getting some of that stuff if it works. Let me know. (I'm stil totally pissed off that both the US and UK took Vioxx off the market just because some bloody twits decided that if 1 pill worked, then 10-25-50 would work even better, and then surprise, surprise bought the farm. Vioxx was about the only drug that worked got the old body parts/joints functioning in any human way.)

    Anyway - this isn't about me. It's about you, vous, tu. Don't stop at a blonde wig, why not go for the whole spectrum. You'd look sexy in anything, but you know what they say about change and spice of life, etc, etc.

    And, when is the next stage?

    Love you xox

    PS: You're a fantastic writer - think "publish", think "income". :-)