The Diagnosis


Our Christmas tree
Our Christmas tree

Monday, December 29, 2008, I went to see the Surgical Oncologist.  As I sat in the waiting room, I saw despair on the faces of so many people.  While I was waiting for my name to be called, I prayed for everyone in there.  I prayed silent prayers that God would intervene in each of their situations.  In 1 Thessolonians 5:17, the Bible tells us that we should pray continually.  I would learn the true meaning and impact of this scripture as I was about to face the biggest challenge of my life.

Surgical Oncologist

Laura Starner… the nurse called my name.  I gathered my belongings and walked back to the exam room.  Doug and my mom followed me. The doctor was very matter of fact.  He began… so you are aware that you have breast cancer. Doug and my mom stepped out of the office so he could examine me.  After the examination, they came back in the room. He continued…. well at least it’s breast cancer.  You are lucky that it is just breast cancer because most patients live at least five years. It is the best cancer to have.

Did I just hear him correctly?  There is a best cancer to have?  Really?  I’m sure he meant… most curable or from a medical stand point, most advanced in diagnosing.  Surely, he can’t think it’s good to have cancer.

He went on to give us facts:

Three tumors… one in the right breast about half the size of a AA battery, two in the right axilla, one was about the size of a AA battery and the second was about half the size of a AA battery

Stage 3…very aggressive because if it wasn’t there on your last mammogram then it is fast moving

Since it was already in the lymph nodes, needed a Bone Scan and PET Scan to make sure it hasn’t spread to the bone, liver or lungs

I just sat there numb, wishing my mom was not hearing this information.  I wanted to protect her from the bad news. Doug would be positive and draw on his faith but nobody wants to hear this about their child.

The Oncologist asked me which chemo doctor I wanted to see. He went on to explain that there were two very renowned, traditional male doctors and one female doctor.  I asked him if the female doctor had a daughter. He said, “I don’t know.  I will check for you.” When he came back in he said, “Yes, she has a daughter and she will see you Wednesday because we need to get things started.”  He said, “I’m just curious.  Why did you ask if she had a daughter?” I replied, “Because I want her to treat me as if she would treat her daughter if she was sick.” To that he replied, “I never thought of it that way.”

Before we left his office, I had an appointment with the Oncologist-Hematologist, chemo doctor, and for a port insertion surgery.  That would be my last visit with him because I changed to a surgeon who specialized only in breast cancer.  When we got outside, we all went separate ways.  Mom went to the church, Doug went to Publix to get food and I drove home all by myself with a feeling of utter disbelief.  In retrospect, on December 29, 2008, I became my advocate, started researching doctors and surgery options.

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