Today, I need to take a few detours. Full warning & disclosure...today 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