Who the f*ck are you and what horse did you ride in on? Or. Trust Your Intuition!

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Blog

Today I had the initial consult with an oncologist. First off, oncologist has been a really odd word to say and write. My family doesn’t have a history of cancer. So, this diagnosis of breast cancer has been a surprise not only to me, but to many in my family.

Through this journey so far, I haven’t been convinced any doctor I’ve been referred to would be my doctor.

I’ve gone in totally neutral, neither yes nor no. I wanted to meet them and allow my intuition to guide me. I did this with the facility that initially performed my mammogram and sonogram, who then did the biopsy and MRI.

The same with my breast surgeon. I went in open. Her staff is great and as soon as I met her, there was no doubt. I didn’t even have to ask yes or no, there was a knowing. My intuition and higher self said yes.

So why would I think anything would be different today with the referred oncologist? So far, so good, right? Wrong. The road isn’t always smooth and sometimes hitting a pothole helps you find clarity for what’s important.

The first red flag was when his nurse assistant started talking chemo before we’d had any real conversation. Then talking about insurance, the cost of how expensive chemo is came up. Red flag 1 ½.

Red flag #2, he walked in and sat across from me with arms crossed. Body language is everything and if you’re not open during an initial consult, are you really going to listen to what I have to say?

We talked about options and some of the things already discussed with my breast surgeon. Then he pulled out the flow chart. Red flag #3. He has no idea of my background, and in my former professional days, we could create graphs and charts to skew thought into a certain outcome we were vested in. He is also big on chemo and seemed to call into question the plan with my surgeon for a lumpectomy and radiation. Red flag #4.

I think he started to sense the anger rising in me and tuned into my own body language. He was taken aback when I told him I’d made the decision that nothing foreign will be put in my body. No metal markers (of which the one that was put there years ago without my foreknowledge will be removed). No reconstruction. Nothing. Red flag #5 was that he seemed put off that I was making empowered choices for what’s best for me. I felt the, why would you not want reconstruction?

This is an incredibly personal process and everyone who faces this will make the decisions that are best for them. Just because some % of people opt for something, doesn’t mean I or anyone else is a part of that %.

We are not statistics.

The difference between this oncologist and the rest of my medical team is that I felt like a physical specimen to him. With everyone else, I’ve felt listened to and treated like a complete being. Sorry, not sorry, I’m not something to take a sledgehammer to if it’s not necessary.

On my drive home, I started to go into what-if’s. Would my lumpectomy possibly become a mastectomy? If so, would I then be admitted overnight? If I had to choose between chemo and mastectomy, I came to the decision for the latter.

Once home, I sent a note to my primary doctor and he’s already sent a referral to a new oncologist. I called my surgeon’s office and talked with her nurse assistant. Surgery will be a lumpectomy. The only thing that may change during the procedure is if they find cancer in my lymph nodes, of which there’s no indication, additional nodes may be removed.

Trust your intuition.

You’ll feel the heartbeat of an office pretty quickly after your arrival. Then the staff will typically instill in you what you already know, and the energy comes from the top. Just because you’re referred into a practice doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice. This doctor may be great for others, he’s not a fit for me.

The pothole’s been filled. And for at least the next week there’s a plan. My Mom’s flying in on Friday so we have a few days to play. Surgery is on Monday and Mom will be here with me for a few days post-surgery. And I continue to be surrounded by a great medical team, minus one oncologist who’s been sent packing.

All in all, I feel good.

Stephanie B. McAuliffe
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