We went to the beach today. It's the first time we've been there since my surgery last year.
I remember so clearly the last time we were there. I was terrified I'd never be back there again. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. The water was perfect. The kids were having blast. And I was miserable, terrified and sad. I was sure I'd not live to see this summer.
But here we are, almost a year after my diagnosis and I'm healthy and strong and hopeful. And today I got to go to the beach and enjoy it. It was hot and sunny and the water was perfect. I played catch and Frisbee in the lake and soaked up some sun (heavy sun screened up course!) I sat in my chair and people watched. And I was happy.
I've been blessed with having met several people who are on the same journey I am and it's nice to have others who truly understand how I'm feeling. There is one in particular, a girl who was 'introduced' to me by one of my PP sisters. We've talked a lot via email and FB and we've found we're very like minded people.
So, when I came home from the doctor yesterday and posted a FB status that said I was discouraged she emailed me right away to support me. I unloaded everything on her, not just about the reconstruction but about my feelings about my weight, going to the gym and not being back to normal, despite feeling normal. And she understood.
But in writing that email, two things happened. I had time to sort my thoughts about everything and her response helped me see something else.
I really truly think this doctor I saw yesterday had some sort of agenda.
I googled this reconstruction option she spoke to me about; the one not covered by OHIP and I have a few things to say about it.
1. It is done here - sort of. It's very new and they do it at the University Health Network hospitals (of which Princess Margaret is a part of, one of the leading cancer treatment hospitals in the country) but they do it in women who need a partial reconstruction; women who had a tumor removed from a breast and have a mishaped breast because of it. The don't do it for an entire reconstruction.
2. This technique was developed by a Dr in Florida and from what I can gather, he's trying to sell an expander device used in this procedure. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this wouldn't work, it does make perfect sense to my non medically trained mind, however......
3. This procedure is not widely used anywhere.....in fact, my friend (my survival sista!) was not offered this as a reconstruction option either - and she's in the US. She'd never heard of it either.
The more I think about this doctor the more I'm irritated by the whole consultation. She presented me with two options and told me why I'm not a good candidate for them (I had radiation and I'm too fat. Oh, did I forget to mention that, she said I was too overweight for the flap procedure. Really, so what she's saying is only skinny women or those who've not had radiation can have a reconstruction? I call bullshit!)
Anyhow, with all that floating around in my mind I've definitely decided to ask for a second opinion.. And actually, I'm going to ask for a third as well. I'm going to ask both my radiation oncologist and my family doctor for referrals. My RO will refer me to someone out here where I live. My family Dr will likely refer me to someone in the same hospital as this other woman but I have no trouble telling my family Dr just what I thought of her. I've only ever asked him to get me a second opinion once before so he knows if I don't like a specialist he sends me to and ask for a new one I have a damned good reason.
And so, I feel better now. I know there is still the chance that there won't be an appealing reconstruction option for me out there but if I feel like I'm presented all my options fairly then I can make an informed decision on what I want to do.