Cancer Journal 30, 2019

Another blood draw today, along with a visit with my oncologist. The same nurse who, invariably, cannot find my vein without prodding my arm with a sharp needle to the point that I inform her that I have nerves in that arm, examined my chemo port. I asked to have  a look. I would have preferred to have asked someone in whom I have more trust, but I wasn’t in the mood to berate my attacker today. She felt my port, prodded a bit, and pronounced that it was fine. Sometimes, she said, weight loss can make it seem like it’s more pronounced than normal.

I waited for the usual extended time period before seeing the oncologist. She came in and asked something to the effect that “weren’t you having problems with nausea or something last week?” I wanted to scream, “Look at your chart and you’ll see that it wasn’t nausea, it was the same cough for which you prescribed drugs for acid reflux!” But I didn’t. I just told her it was a cough and it seems better now. Because it does. Not good, but better. Her bizarre prescriptions last week cost $86. I think my prescription plan opts not to pay for obviously erroneous prescriptions. Apparently, my conversation with the nurse navigator either didn’t make its way to the doctor or the doctor forgot. Whatever the reason, the oncologist repeated her suggestion that I consider immunotherapy if the insurance company is willing to pay for it. She said my concerns about the side effects (basically, everything from permanent brain damage to an excruciatingly slow death) were unfounded. None of her patients have had such side effects, she said. “What,” I felt like asking, “did they slip into comas and die quickly?” But, again, I didn’t. I’ll still consider the immunotherapy. Just not under her care.

Next Monday is my last chemotherapy session. I expect I’ll deal with extreme fatigue within a couple of days of the treatment and, if what I’ve read and heard is true, the fatigue associated with this last treatment could last a month or more. Crap. I’m tired of this stuff. But, I have to keep reminding myself, I’ve had it easy thus far. A lot of people suffer much worse side effects, on top of having a much harder time with their cancer in general. I’m lucky. I hope my luck holds out.

My next visit with the doctor will be March 28, when she will let me know when I’ll have my CT scan. And, maybe, she’ll give me an idea of the follow-up treatment schedule.

My swallowing seems to be getting just a tiny bit better. Knock of wood. My chest still hurts like hell when I move in certain ways, suggesting there’s something “in there” on the lining of my esophagus (I presume) that is slow to heal. My next visit with the radiologist is March 22, the same day I get my eyes examined. I’m very tired of doctor visits, but happy I have insurance that pays for them…or, at least, covers most of the costs.

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 30, 2019

  1. Thanks, Linda. I will find another doc in whom I can place my trust. That’s for sure! I look forward to celebrating the completion of my treatments with you, over a nice lunch!

  2. lindakblack says:

    John, it is enough that you are going through all the stuff, but to have someone taking care of you who you don’t trust is by all means an added discomfort. If there’s someone else who satisfies you, I would speak to it because she’ll probably just be there to haunt you forever if you don’t. I speak up, especially about my health care and who provides it. You pay them and you should have the satisfaction of comfort.

    It was good to see you and Janine. When you feel better, we will have a bite somewhere, only when you get ready. Be well.

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