Friday, September 16, 2011

Today's Adventure

Wow, yesterday was a big day - three posts and still room for one more today.

The nurse came yesterday to take my drain out. I am finally free of the 'bull testicle'. Yippee!! It was horrible. She had to cut the stitch that was holding it in and give it a yank. But since it's been in there for 4 weeks things were starting to heal around it. So she had to yank hard! And I could feel it snaking through my body, near my back as it was coming out. And it bled. Yuck.

The surgeon told me a I had a build up of lymphatic fluid around the side of my breast (well, the spot formerly known as the breast) hence the swelling. She said it's basically like lymphadema (which I am trying desperately to avoid getting in my arm as that will be a chronic life long condition if I do. She recommended pressure to it but since wearing a tenser bandaid around ones chest is ill advised (pneumonia anyone?) she said lying on it might help. Hot damn, did my Dr actually recommend lying on the side I have always slept on and have no been able to and because of that it's contibuted to the horrible sciatic pain I'm dealing with??!! I could have kissed her. (As a side note, this was the new surgeon. She was on mat leave and the surgeon who did my surgery was covering her. Sean and I both like new surgeon much more that old surgeon)

Now, the plan was for me to have an MRI guided biospy on the left breast to determine if the 'blips' seen on the MRI are a primary cancer (or cancer at all) There are very few hospitals that have the ability to do this test. Initially it was going to be done at Sunnybrook - which would be a trip to dowtown Toronto. Me and downtown Toronto do not get along. It's too far. I don't drive there (who the hell can afford to park there??) and taking public transit takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  But, it must be done.

Well, the surgeon told me yesterday that Sunnybrook will not do the test. You see, hospitals are part of health networks. Mine is the Rouge Valley Health System. So the Dr's within my network can access all records within said network and order any tests within any hospital within my network. This is why, despite the fact that I live literally 5 minutes from a regional cancer centre I will instead travel 30 minutes for chemo - it's a different network. (I'm okay with that btw, simply because I LOVE my oncologist and have no intention of leaving him - until he declares me cancer free)

So, where does that leave me? Well the surgeon found another hospital that does the test in Toronto (again downtown - woohoo) Mount Sinai, and they will do the test for outside patients but there are rules.

Today's adventure is as follows.
  • Get copies of all breast imaging and their corresponding reports (this would be a mammogram and ultrasound from one network and an MRI and ultrasound from another network)
  • Bring all imaging and reports to Mt Sinai.
  • Get hospital card for Mt. Sinai (this makes you an official patient at Mt. Sinai)
  • Bring all reports and imaging to the breast research dept. and drop it off.
From there, their radiologist will review everything and decide whether or not they will do the test with me as an outside patient. They'll get back to my surgeon and let her know. IF they decide to NOT do the test as an outside patient my surgeon will refer me to a surgeon at Mt. Sinai who will then order the test that they won't do for my surgeon. Stupid, I know, it's one of those flaws in our health care system. Don't mistaken me though, I'm not complaining about it - I can't say enough about our health care system. It might not be the best in the world and it does have some flaws but I couldn't be happier with the care I'm getting and how fast I'm getting it.

So, fingers crossed that I don't have to have a referral and they'll do the test. I LOVE the new surgeon and don't want to have to travel downtown for appointments.

Genetic testing is underway too. Apparently I'll get a lengthy questionairre about family medical history to fill out and then when I send it back they'll book my appointment. Fingers crossed that this is not a genetic cancer - I don't my daughters to have my eyes, not cancer.  Truth be known, I know a lot for my Dad's side (health wise) but my mom's side is a mystery. My  Mom's mom died in childbirth when she was 11. My Great Grandmother lived into her 70's and had no cancer that I'm aware of. But really, the only biological connection I have to women on my mothers side (besides my mom) is cousins. No breast cancer specifically that I'm aware of.

Well, I better get ready for my adventure. What are the odds I could convince Sean to take me to lunch downtown while we're there. What? Slim to none you say? I think you're right.

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