Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Let's Talk About Options - Part 1

Thank you for allowing me to digress yesterday. I got in to see my doctor today and she ordered X-ray's. I had those taken but have yet to receive the results. So, for now I have to continue to be careful, take the pain meds every 4 hours and rest. Thank you all for your prayers. Now....

The day has finally come. You all have been waiting for this, I know. Well, if 5 family members in the room wasn't enough last time, we added 2 more for this go 'round. How do like that?

We started by meeting my grandparents at the front building as we came in. No one was quite sure where we were going for the appointments we had today. After meeting up with them and checking in at the front desk, we were told to meet first with the head oncologist on the second floor clinic (2C). We ventured through the main building corridor to the elevators in the clinic building and headed to the second floor. After a while, my name was finally called and the 5 of us all got up. The nurse said that the room was really small and that we wouldn't all fit in there. After a bit of humming and ha'ing, my grandparents graciously said they would stay in the waiting room and let my parents come in with me.

I. Benjamin Paz, M.D.
So, we followed the nurse through the locked door from the waiting room. When we were finished taking all of the vital signs they make you do, we were taken to a room to meet with the oncologist. His name is Dr. I. Benjamin Paz (from Brazil). We walked in and I sat on the patient table, because when they said the room was small, they meant it. Mom and dad had a chair for each of them, which they squeezed into in the corner by the patient table. Then, there was a rolling stool for the doctor by the computer table, which was next to the sink, with no other room for anyone else at all. When the door would open, the patient table was wedged behind it. If you sat in the wrong way on that table, you could get whacked by the door if someone came in. If the doctor stood on that side of the table, he got whacked by the door if someone came in. Can you say, "Bad Set-up?" It was like putting the patient in the broom closet.

We waited a few minutes for the doctor to arrive. As we did, I began to get anxious. I started getting a little jittery too, shaking my leg and fidgeting on the table. I couldn't tell if I was anxious in a good way or a bad way. Of course, this drove my parents nuts. Dad shook his side-to-side with a deep sigh out, as he usually does to show his displeasure. Mom asked why I was shaking everything and to stop it. I had to say I was nervous and this was my way of dealing with it.

No sooner did that verbal exchange happen than the doctor walked through the door and greeted us with a smile and a big hello in his Brazilian accent. Our family always talks with the doctors to see how their day is going and how they are before we get into business, today was no different. After these pleasantries were over, Dr. Paz got right to business. He went over what we already knew about the mass on the hip and stated that the orthopedic surgeon would go into greater detail about what he suggested as treatment. He then told us there were a few other things that had been written in the report that he wanted to discuss. There were gall stones present in my gall bladder that needed to be addressed. There was a portion of my liver that was called a "fatty liver" and that was very important to address. Then the other thing was my weight. Now, we talked several posts ago that I had issues with my weight most of my life. This was a very sensitive subject. I listened carefully to the doctor and understood all of his points and his concerns. I was on board with making changes, but I really needed support to get past where my life was at this point. And that wasn't going to be easy. And I made that known.

Dr. Paz didn't belabor the points with me, he could see by my facial expressions that I was pretty much over feeling lectured to about my weight. He moved on to the cancer again. He said that while the other doctor would be angling things from here, he highly suggested I go with the option of surgery. Okay. Surgery is okay. I can do it. Mom, dad and I all agreed to hear everything and take this into consideration. Dr. Paz was very kind and he really was sympathetic in his words and facial expressions. I felt his compassion, although it could have felt differently if I had only held to the words he said. I left the patent room feeling okay at this point. My parents and I thanked Dr. Paz for his time and we exited through the door we had entered through looking for my grandparents.

We found my grandparents right where we left them, but there were two other people we could hear as we approached the entrance to the waiting area. My cousin and her husband had driven from San Diego (2-1/2 hours) to join us and be there to pray with us and for us the entire time. We all hugged and greeted one another as we usually do. Due to the time we had waited for the doctor, we were really late for our appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. We were all still talking and catching up a little while we scurried to the elevators to head to the third floor for the next meeting.

Again, we found ourselves waiting in the pediatric area to meet with the orthopedic surgeon and his nurse. We are finally going to find out what he suggests we do for the tumor.  All 7 of us, jammed into one corner of the waiting area as we waited to be called back. My name was called for vitals, and as we ALL (mind you 7 of us) got up, the nurse overwhelmed by the group that looked like they were going to mob her, said "I'm just going to take vital signs right now." So I told my family I would go and be right back.

Now, I really don't understand why every appointment you have at the hospital, you have to have your vitals taken. I would have thought that if they were taken once at the first appointment that day, that would have been it. But, for some reason no matter how many doctors or nurses you are seeing, you have to take vitals. So, I put up with it and do what they want. And, the nurses are just doing what they are told to do too. I came back out and sat with my family again. It really wasn't but a minute before they called me back to see the doctor, or so it seemed.

My cousins decided that they were going to stay in the waiting room while we were back with the doctor. My grandparents made it clear they WERE going with us whether we liked it or not. I found that that really funny. My cousins told us after several days that they had decided to stay in the waiting room because they felt the Lord wanted them to stay focused on our family in prayer. When I learned that, I was grateful they had as this was the hardest thing I was going to experience in my life to this point.

We were escorted to a patient room in the far corner of this clinic area. After all of the patient clinic rooms and lab rooms I had been in so far, I could not believe how much SPACE we had in this room. I sat on the patient table while my mom and grandparents sat on the backless bench in the room, dad sat on the only chair that had a back on it near the door. We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited so long that my back began to hurt, my right hip was beginning to get really painful and I really couldn't take it anymore. I got off the table and kind of draped my body across it in hopes to stretch my back muscles and feel a little better. Then, we waited some more.

Finally, the doctor and his nurse came in and greeted each of us. Frankly, I had waited so long that I was not in a good mood at this point and was a little less than friendly. The day was close to being half over and I had spent most of it waiting to this point.

And, wait is what you'll have to do for part 2 of "The Options."

"Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LordIn the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up." Psalm 5:2-3

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