Thursday, December 13, 2012

Translating "Doctor talk' into more understandable "English" . . .

What a difference it makes when you have someone who can "translate" something into a language you can understand.

My oncology nurse called me this morning, after receiving a long list of questions I sent to her on Tuesday night by email. She shared that as she read my email, she realized that there had been a miscommunication ( and it truth, the miscommunication was a lot my fault.)  My emotions got pretty scrambled at the doctor’s office on Tuesday morning, and neither Liz or I correctly understood what my oncologist was attempting to communicate to us in “doctor language.”   As a result, I “heard” that I was having another treatment in April and I panicked a bit, and I “sort of / kind of” got mad at the doctor. 
Seems that when I get mad, I stop listening . . . something that is probably not news to those who know me well.
Seems that when I get mad . . . people (including doctors) often become afraid of me . . .
So . . . here is the translation . . .
In reality, I am not having a treatment in April.  Rather, it will be "determined" in April if I need another treatment and/or surgery.

As our nurse explains it . . . I am going back to the oncologists in April for a “re-staging” which involves 3 things:

- One or two injections of a medicine that will allow me to not have to stop taking my new meds (synthetic hormone), and to not have to do a full week long low-iodine fast

- Two days later I will orally take a very small radioactive iodine marker (no isolation period involved)

- Two days after that, I will have another scan on my neck.

The results of the scan, as well as the results from new blood work, will help to determine 3 more things: (We could know the answers to all this by the middle or end of April)

- If the “spot” (evidence of thyroid cancer in my upper neck/lymph node) is still there . . .  

- If another radioactive iodine ablation (a 3 week process including diet and isolation) is necessary to take care of it

- If surgery is required to remove the lymph node (which is actually the “worst case scenario” according to the nurse . . . one that I can very much live with.)

A result of another ablation or surgery will be that I will have several more scans over the course of the next few years.

The wait until April is to give my neck more time to heal, and to allow the first treatment some time to have full effect (apparently my recent treatment has a half-life, meaning it is still “theoretically” working).  The cancer I have (follicular carcinoma) is the very slow growing.  It has probably taken many years for that little spot in my upper neck to get to the size that it is.
So, I am thankful for an oncologist who has everything under control, even if I'm out of control.
I am thankful for my oncology nurse who was patient to respond to my questions with a phone call instead of an email . . . and as a result, I am informed and on-board as a participant in the plan.  I am much more at ease. 
It's a good plan, in fact.

God's grace still amazes me . . . . ><>



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