Cancer Journal 11 and 12 in Two Parts, 2019

January 14, 2019
I didn’t realize until today that I never bothered posting yesterday’s “Cancer Journal.” No matter, it wasn’t particularly insightful. I’ll include it with today’s, just for the record.

I woke late again today, thanks in large part to a continuing wake-pee-sleep cycle overnight. I don’t think it was quite as active as the two prior nights, though. I felt adequate this morning, well enough that I felt comfortable driving myself to my radiation session and the blood work/doc visit that followed. I got in early to the radiation session and, consequently, I was out early, so I went to the oncologist’s office (almost 20 minutes early) and waited. Thirty minutes after my appointment time, I was called back for blood work. The tech asked me to roll up my sleeve. I said I have a port. “We prefer to use needles in the arm to minimize the risk of infection.” I responded that I got the port specifically to use for both chemo and blood draws. She didn’t insist, but close. I agreed. And when I met with the doctor, I expressed my anger. She recommended, after all, that I get the port. She mentioned that it could be used to administer chemo, to draw blood, and for transfusions if the need arose. She apologized that I misunderstood. Misunderstood bullshit! This is about the fourth time I’ve “misunderstood” this doctor, along with my wife, when we’re sitting in the same room. And I let her know I was not happy about it. Ultimately, I said I would accept blood draws from my arms, but I expressed my serious annoyance that I was advised to get a port that would, in all probability, be used for only four chemo treatments. Tomorrow, I’m exploring my options to switch to another oncologist. I am so pissed off I could spit nails, as the saying goes.

In addition to that little fiasco, I mentioned that I have a persistent cough that seems to result from a roughness or rawness in my throat. She immediately assumed it was acid reflux. I told her I didn’t think so. She decided it probably was, so she prescribed a drug to deal with acid reflux.

Then, she asked if I’d seen Dr. Pruitt (the radiation oncologist) yet. “Yes, I’ve seen him several times and have had my seventh radiation treatment.” Oh, she had forgotten I was already getting radiation treatment. She asked the same question last week on the day of my chemo (after which I asked my wife whether the doctor seemed completely disconnected from my case and utterly unable to stay focused on a specific patient’s situation). Does this woman ever make notations in her patients’ medical charts? Is she high on something? And then she suggested my cough and raw throat might have something to do with the radiation therapy. Yes, tomorrow I’m going to explore my options. I’m fatigued, but angry.
January 13, 2019

Today seems to be starting moderately better than yesterday, though the first taste of coffee was only marginally better than yesterday’s disaster, which I threw out. It’s a shame that one of the day’s delights, freshly-brewed coffee, is subject to the nasty effects of chemo-therapy. I’m surprised that, after only a single chemo treatment one week ago, my taste buds are subject to such an assault. Fortunately, as of yesterday at least, avocado and bacon tortas and stuffed bell peppers still taste wonderful. I wouldn’t mind having them again today. But I won’t.

I made the mistake of looking at the weather forecast a few moments ago. It’s much of the same as yesterday in terms of temperatures. I don’t know yet whether yesterday’s bleakness will return. Yesterday, fog enshrouded the house all day. The weather was a perfect parallel for the way I felt; dull, grey, confined, ugly, miserable. I hope today’s weather and my sense of self won’t be as gloomy.

The third sip of coffee showed an improvement. But the aches from spending too much time in bed remain.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Cancer Journal 11 and 12 in Two Parts, 2019

  1. bev wigney says:

    If possible, I’d probably be looking for a new oncologist. You should have someone you feel you can trust. I have friends who have had oncologists who just don’t seem to be on top of things — possibly overworked — but who knows. You may be able to find someone who takes an interest — as they should.

  2. Bill Spears says:

    Yikes I’d be upset also. You aretight to expectyhat you will be able to rely on what uour physician tells you. They are required to make noyabout visits. But it isn’t uncommon that Drs. Get behind on their notes. It would be nice if they would review them before seeing a patient. I can’t blame you for considering looking for a new oncologist.

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