This entry is part 02 of 44 in the series Breast Cancer Posts

By the Monday following my mammogram appointment, I had a diagnosis of cancer.

The result of this was things kicked into high gear on the VA’s end of things. Within a week, I got to see my surgeon. I think I got really lucky with this appointment. I saw him on a day he usually doesn’t see patients, right after a meeting. His Physician’s Assistant left the meeting early, and we spent about twenty or so minutes with her alone, outlining what to expect of the visit with the surgeon. I remember her first name was Robyn (could have misspelled it). When my surgeon, Dr. Savarise, joined us, my mom, who’d accompanied me to the meeting, started asking him questions she hadn’t gotten to with his assistant. He spent at least forty-five minutes to an hour with us. During his visit, he detailed the procedures I’d be undergoing in surgery, helped us with any questions we had, and generally eased my mind a great deal with his willingness to sit there and be pestered. I feel I wouldn’t have gotten this time if it had been a typical clinic day for him, and he was able to assure me he did this procedure every day up at Huntsman Cancer Institute. That reassured me a great deal, along with his physical appearance: dark hair greying at the temples, crinkles around the corners of his eyes. He’s not some young doc coming in and telling me what’s going to happen, he’s someone who is experienced and knows all the variables which may be expected during such a procedure. By the time he left me to finish up with Robyn, I felt very confident in his abilities and comforted by his patient and informative character.

After the meeting, Robyn gave me a Guide to Your Surgical Experience flier and a red day-glow list of places in the hospital to visit prior to my surgery, preferably the next day. As I had to see the Oncologist the next afternoon, I went to the VA early to perform this errand run. I also happened to be able to get my flu shot since the VA had them available and I had the time; the last thing I’ll need later on this fall is to come down with the flu in the middle of chemotherapy. Then, all errands done, I waited out in the main lobby for Mom to join me for my Oncology appointment.

Mom and I arrived at the Oncology department a little before the appointed time of Noon. After we were shown to a room with a hospital bed (covered in fresh pee pads for some reason), we waited for approximately half an hour. The Oncologist who arrived was not the one we actually had been told we were to meet, but someone else. I’ve forgotten her name. She sat with us for about half an hour or so and talked with us, explaining the differences between Stage and Grade and what my likely path through cancer treatment was to be. When she finished, she hunted down the woman I’d been told we would meet, who popped in for about thirty seconds before hurrying off to wherever she needed to be. Then the first Oncologist went off to find the head Oncologist.

Now, here, I’d like to say that when I got back from my appointment with the Oncologists, I wasn’t in any way ready to discuss much about it. I was, however, willing to talk about the people I’d met, and I likened them to various animals, much to the amusement of my writing friends at Forward Motion for Writers. All my chat friends were in, and I likened the head Oncologist to a contented cat. I cannot imagine him ever rushing anywhere, though I’m sure he does on occasion when necessary, but he was so laid back, spoke so quietly and calmly and with a kind of peacefulness that I felt very comfortable and comforted in his presence. It was quite an experience speaking with him and being examined by him; I felt very at peace and calm with him there, as if his presence was guarantee nothing wrong would happen either before, during, or after my cancer care. Someone commented I’d better not liken any of my Oncologists to a bird, and I said I’d liken the one Mom and I sat and talked with a while as one, but she was the kind of bird who sits in a tree and sings. Not at all concerned with rushing off onto another appointment. The one I was supposed to meet, and who I actually saw for only about thirty seconds, I likened to a squirrel—busy-busy and rushing off to her next meeting or duty. I was pleased to hear the birdlike Oncologist would be my primary caregiver. She had a manner which was comforting as well, and I felt very confident in her wisdom and knowledge of cancer care by the end of the meeting.

As of this date, Saturday, 28 Sept 2013, my surgical appointment is set for 11 AM on Monday, 30 Sept 2013. I am somewhat nervous, but want this cancer out so I can begin the rest of my treatment. My next cancer-related appointment is for Thursday, 17 Oct 2013, when I see the Oncologist for a follow-up and hopefully to begin at least planning my chemotherapy appointments.

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