Words. Are powerful. Even more powerful in the circumstances I faced in the past week are words from doctors.
So I went for my first CT scan in two years (since cancer diagnosis and treatment). And even though the result was ready almost immediately after the scan, I could only get it from my oncologist during my appointment scheduled about a month after.
I waited patiently thinking if there’s any bad news that need immediate attention, they’d contact me immediately. I took the lack of news as good news.
But there’s a realist in me who said, “Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.”
I became anxious the night before my scheduled appointment with oncologist to review my CT scan result. I even asked RK to join me for the review because for the worst or for the best, he’s there with me.
As usual, I had my blood withdrawn, weight taken, blood pressure measured, and chemo port flushed before waiting endlessly to meet my oncologist. I typically get called when I’m almost dozing off but this round, I was alert as I had RK with me for the wait.
I walked into the consultation clinic and greeted the oncologist. He asked me how I was and I was like, “OK I guess?”
I immediately asked about my CT scan. And here’s where I want to list some doctor words that I hate and love.
Words I Hated Hearing From My Doctors In Past Week
Oncologist: It’s complicated
Noooooo. What do you mean it’s complicated? Are you having a hard time explaining to me because it’s a bad news? Are you not understanding what you’re seeing? I want a simple and easy diagnosis and prognosis.
Oncologist: What should we do?
What do you mean what we should do?! I don’t know. You’re the doctor! You tell me.
Oncologist: This may not be a good way to discover this
I just felt weak when I heard this from him. At the same time I was confused too because I didn’t understand then. Now I think I understood his words.
Basically, the CT scan showed that I have multiple lesions in my liver, a complex ovary and a nodule in my lung. The radiologist did not suspect any of them as metastasis of my colon cancer (phew!) but they need medical attention because they are not normal. Shit.
I don’t wanna be special. I don’t wanna be the 1% or 5% or whatever minority percentage of people with any medical condition. This is not the time and place to be special. I want to have something that everyone else has and that every doctor knows how to treat with their eyes closed. Actually, correction: I don’t want any medical condition.
Back to the CT scan, it seems that the issue with my other organs are not related. So the question now is: why I got so many problems one? Is there a bigger problem that’s causing this?
Also, these issues may not even need medical attention and normally go undiagnosed because they don’t cause any symptoms or issues. But because I’m being scanned for cancer, I’m learning about them and doctors have to send me around to rule out cancer metastasis.
With this understanding, everything doctor said above made sense. He’s not sure if he should agonize this 27-year-old with more issues to follow up with for the rest of her life. But he has to because this girl has defied the norm and scored herself colon cancer at 25 years old. #lifeonthefastlane
Oncologist: 2 Years is a Lifetime in Oncology
😐 Why. Why did I even expect to have non-scary conversation with the oncologist whose job is to find cancer and treat cancer? I told him I scanned my perfectly fine ovaries 2 years ago and he said even 3 months is a lifetime in oncology. Kthxbye.
Oncologist: I’d see you in 6 weeks
What?! I got downgraded from meeting him every 12 weeks to 6 weeks. Oh man. It’s not fun when you think you’re making progress and suddenly you get extra check in from your doctor… And he’s sending me around for “assignment”. I need to see a liver specialist to review my liver and a gynecologist to review my ovary. He’d decide the next course of action after hearing from the specialists.
Anyway, after all the scary stuffs, thankfully I had nice words from doctors that I liked hearing.
Words I Loved Hearing From My Doctors In Past Week
Oncologist: Your colon is OK
Yay. Nuff said.
Oncologist: Your bloodwork is OK
Yay! See why I was anxious for the CT scan? Bloodwork is an easier test to “pass”. Anyway, I asked for more blood test to check my hormones just to see if they are normal, considering my ovary is acting up.
Liver Specialist: Doesn’t look like cancer to me
I booked the next available appointment and met the liver specialist already. Briefed him my medical history, handed him the referral letter from my oncologist, showed him both my CT scans and heard him say it doesn’t look like cancer metastasis to him. Phew.
Liver Specialist: Likely Genetic
You know when you’re sick then everyone including yourself starts questioning what went wrong? I’ve learned that it’s much easier to cope when you get to blame it on genetic.
He suspects it’s a rare condition that is mostly inherited but doesn’t cause any harm in most cases. Or, it could be an infection but they’ve shown up on CT scan two years ago so I’m guessing not?
Regardless, he’s recommending me to go for a PET scan because…
Liver Specialist: To Cover My Back
Not to cover my back. But to cover the specialist’s back. He’s sending me for a scan because he has to take the extra precaution as a medical professional and not because he’s concerned. That sounds good to me. I’d be more at ease going for a scan for protocol reason than for diagnostic reason.
Liver Specialist: The Only Problem Is It’s Expensive
So I asked about what PET scan can tell me and what is the risk involved. He said the only problem about going for PET scan is that it’s expensive. Great! I’m covered by insurance so means no problem.
Besides that, when doctor shows concern about cost, I feel that the doctor is more compassionate. He also told me not to do it at private hospital because it’d be expensive (while he’s consulting me in the private arm of a government hospital). 👍
Liver Specialist: You’re Strong and Happy
It’s different hearing doctor comment that I’m strong and happy. This was our first meeting and I’m glad that’s the first impression he has of me.
I acknowledge that I probably seemed more casual about my medical history than most patients he saw. I guess that’s also because he said he’s not concerned. Yay!
So that’s what happened to me in the past week. I have another specialist appointment in March because the specialist is fully booked in Feb. I think that’d be fine because ovaries always develop cysts. #femalewoes #waittillanxietykicksin
Either way, I still need to stay vigilant but as stress free as I can. #fingerscrossed
Thank you to those who asked about me after my consultation the other day!
[Update: Gynae appointment was 100% good. The complex cyst was no where to be found 1.5 month after my CT scan. Gynae said it’s probably an egg that my ovary was releasing.]