I am officially a cancer patient again. I have my new appointment with my medical oncologist this coming Wednesday at 8.30am and they were at pains to tell me this would be at Auckland Hospital. For those of you unfamiliar with Auckland regional hospitals and where I live in relation to them and how they spread the health funding dollar I will explain in more depth. I am theoritically under the South Auckland health board’s “jurisdiction” because of where I live and things such as my heart function tests and CT scans are done through them at Middlemore as that is where the funding for me to have them is – however because of the sort of cancer I have got I am under the teams of oncologists at Auckland Hospital which is run by a different health board.
My oncologists see their patients at Auckland Hospital when they are in active treatment and at Greenlane Clinical Centre (the other central Auckland hospital) when they are finished and are just under “surveillance” as it were.
Until I had finished my Herceptin treatment all my check ups with the oncologists were at Auckland Hospital because I was still in “active treatment”. At my August followup before my last herceptin when we had first discussed my”niggles” although the medical oncologist Dr RB had sent me for a CT scan he honestly thought it wouldn’t show anything and so scheduled my next follow-up to be at Greenlane.
At my one and only visit to Greenlane I saw my head medical oncologist Dr H and was promptly told I was going back into active treatment although at the time he thought it would be radiation. My radiation oncology appointment was at Auckland as you only see the radiation oncologists when you need active treatment.
I had just got my head around not being a cancer patient when I am one again but due to the timing I can’t decide whether it should be “I am a cancer patient again” or “I am still a cancer patient”
It really bugs me that I am going into this Christmas season as a “cancer patient” I had really been looking forward to being able to walk into the end of year functions with the proud title of “cancer survivor” and have people look at me that way. Now the first thing that they are going to see and label me as is “cancer patient” if they know what is going on.
It also bugs me that we can’t make any plans for Christmas until we know what my treatment plan is and YD is getting worried about me being in hospital like I was last year and all we can say to her questions is “We hope not” – We can’t make her any promises that I won’t be, because we don’t know what treatment I am getting or how it is going to affect me and we don’t want to make promises we can’t keep
I try to keep fairly positive and I got a stainless steel bracelet off “thebreastcancersite.com” that has the serenity prayer on it -“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference” I wear it everyday and it reminds to think “it is what it is – so just deal with it”
I was writing an email to my IBC support network this morningand in it I used the sentence This is a new area that had never showed up on previous imaging although the “spawn of Gertrude” were probably hiding out there the whole time. I rather like the term “spawn of Gertrude” so I think I will use it sometimes when I am talking about this recurrence.
I will probably write my next blog post on Wednesday after I know what the plan is