Friday, February 27, 2009

testing this patient's patience...

Seriously? Do I stink or something?

Just kidding - my hair smells like apples and my body smells like pomegranates, so it's not that. But this whole breast cancer thing - even the light edition that I had - is a sloooooooooooooow process. Truly a test of my patience.

Today I went to the doc to have him check out my latest surgery to see if it's healed enough to start the tattoo process. My next-door-neighbor doc. Yeah, the horror!

So I go, change into the paper top, he comes in and informs me that the nurse that is/was the tattoo specialist has PCS'd. (she moved) *sigh* Really? Seriously? Are you kidding me? I should have seen it coming.

So he set out my options. At best, before this fiasco, there was just enough time to squeak in all the tattoo sessions to get done before I moved, but now there is no way it will be complete before June. I've taken the logical choice of waiting for the move and finding someone who will do it all from start to finish in Atlanta.

BTW, I didn't have to show my goods to the doc. What's the point? Whew. So that was a good thing!

Let's review the delays and changes that I've encountered from the beginning, shall we?
  • June 2006 - the start of it all, abnormal mammogram, 1 week before move to Hawaii (not a smart idea to have your well woman right before a move)
  • took a couple of months to find house, move in, get new PCM and sweet talk the radiology department to re-mammogram/biopsy me without the referral of my new local PCM
  • after the usual biopsies and blah, blah, blahs I'm set for mastectomy when I find out that my surgeon (who was a reservist) was through with her obligation and heading back home just a week before my scheduled surgery so a total stranger did it. (Oct 06)
  • surgery delayed due to horrendous cold I caught.
  • a few expander fills delayed due to surgeon out of country, but it got done (obviously)
  • got implant (may 07) and 9 months later (Jan 08) got 2nd implant - long delay due to surgeon travel? marathon? I can't remember
  • stage 2 delayed because surgeon wanted scar to heal more
  • finally went in to schedule stage 2 and surgeon decides to retire - meet PS #2
  • met new ps and stage 2 scheduled for the new year after the marathon
  • 1 week delay on surgery (Jan 09)
  • ps #2 announces he is deploying for 6 months
  • met with ps #3 (next door neighbor)
  • ready to schedule tattoo - tattoo artist has moved! tattoo will be delayed until move and then I'll have to get referral/insurance approval and find someone qualified to do it.

Almost a 3 year process so far. There's no one to blame. It's just been a process of changes and delays due to a multitude of circumstances. That's just the way it is. It needs to be evaluated and lessons need to be learned. One lesson is you have got to take charge of your own health. No one else will manage it for you. I'm also trying to find the joy in this. Trying to be thankful. Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (she sings out loud) Who knows? Maybe I'll find a fantastic tattoo artist?

I'm a little nervous about the upcoming move after my talk to the ps. The closest big bases with decent sized hospitals are Ft. Benning and Ft. Gordon - much too far a drive for me to go to those. I'm worried about what kind of health care I'll find. If I can work tricare so I'll get civilian health care, that should be good. I just don't feel confident about my health. I mean, I feel like I'm in pretty good shape, but not good at the same time. It's not blatantly bad, but bad things crop up - I've had cancer (albeit stage 0), I have hypertension/high cholesterol, suspicious areas on my skin, my eyesight is horrendous - yet I completed two marathons, I have lots of energy, I eat both really good and really bad, I exercise regularly, haven't had a cold in ages, etc. etc.

There - that was my worry moment. No use carrying that worry around. "Put a pin in it."

No need to harsh my mellow. :-D


FrankandMary said...

I just read you comments on my blog & thought that has to be Hawaii Stephanie :-).
Next door, oh so comfy. Working in medical I always told patients they had to take charge of their own health & some would look at me vaguely annoyed: But the Doctor should.....
Yes, but the doctor has thousands of patients(in some cases) & this is YOUR LIFE, you have to steer the ship...
< would not dream of harshing your mellow. ~Mary

Pamela said...

It really IS true that you must take charge. I learned that from watching my friend go through Cancer. Then, I've seen it as a nurse. You are doing a wonderful job. These obstacles are not your fault. Not anyone's. Just the way it is.
I think you're doing GREAT! I could never survive a marathon. No way!
Aren't you gonna miss Hawaii??

Russ said...

When you get to Atlanta, come by Ink & Dagger Tattoo Parlour and talk to me. Over the years,I have repaired several tattooing attempts by doctors and nurses. I would love the opportunity to save you the trouble of going through that multiple times. Check out my website at P.S. I found your blog by google-ing "atlanta tattoo".