A friend told us about another oncologist in town so we asked for a referral to see him which the insurance company approved along with a visit to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). I went to have my second opinion with the local oncologist yesterday. We didn't bring the army this time. When we went to see the first oncologist, there were so many of us, the nurse looked at us like we were crazy and was worried we wouldn't fit in the room but we managed. When we first arrived, we ran into Katie, one of our Zumba® students and friends. She is a chemo nurse at this particular office. It's comforting to know people who may be taking care of and helping me through this process. Back to the oncologist - he found a couple more lumps, one kind of by my collar bone. He could not say if they were lymph nodes because of the location but felt they needed to be ultrasounded and maybe even biopsied. He said my case is complicated and wanted me to go to the UW Breast Clinic (SCCA). We told him my insurance approved a visit to SCCA, and that I would like to go. He got the ball rolling for several things that needed to be done: appointment with SCCA, muga scan, port, blood work and PET scan. Today, I had my pre-op for the port, which will be put in tomorrow, and a muga scan. I've had about 50 tubes of blood drawn - not really but it feels like it. Monday, I meet with the nurse practitioner at SCCA who will determine if they need additional tests before I meet with the team of specialists scheduled for the following week, but I am hoping (and hear from others) I may get in sooner. My PET scan is scheduled for Tuesday, so things are moving along. I also got a flu shot on Monday. I should note we really liked him. I forgot to mention in my first blog that, when we asked the first oncologist about a second opinion, she said my case was pretty straight forward and any doctor I saw would recommend the same treatment plan she did except for maybe the way chemo is distributed but she was flexible on that. We persisted on the second opinion...thankfully. We're grateful for everyone who encouraged us to get second and third opinions because we may not have discovered how complicated things were and time is of the essence.
How I'm feeling: It's been stressful and draining making phone call after phone call, waiting for calls back, waiting for approvals, trying to get appointments scheduled, getting poked and prodded on top of dealing with daily life issues like getting my car repaired from an accident a month ago (yes, it's taken that long), dealing with the car rental company, covering the office at the studio (thanks to Jim for stepping in with this), finding subs to cover me while I'm recovering from my port surgery, etc. etc. As we're preparing this blog, I'm laying on the couch, physically drained from the events over the last few days, realizing that I can't stay on the same schedule I've been operating on. If I'm tired now, I can't imagine how it's going to be when I'm going through treatment. I better get things lined up now. I feel positive that things will smooth out and calm down as we progress with the doctors, decision making, and treatment plan. I feel strong. A note to my daughters - you are going to have your ups and downs, but that's what will pull us together.
Jamie's point of view: Mom and I decided, since I'm helping her with this blog, I get to put my two cents in. My Mom is a ROCK!!! As the doctor was examining her, he confirmed the finding of a couple more lumps. He stood up, took a deep breath, and then sighed heavily shoulders dropping and everything. If there was a thought bubble by my head, it would have said, "Ohhhh crap." Then my body started shaking involuntarily, and I wanted to cry but I was trying to be strong, because I am, darn it! I had my laptop on my lap and it was hard to type because my knees were shaking. I didn't want Mom to see so I was trying really hard to tighten my muscles to stop them from shaking. Mom came over to me after the doctor left and hugged me and said, "It's going to be ok. I'm going to be ok." Epic fail on my part. Ugh. She is SO strong. When the doctor came back in, he gave us a run down on everything that needed to be done. Once I had the list and knew he was "on it," I felt so much better. Later that night, Mom and I laughed as we discussed the events at the doctor's office. She told me she saw my eyes watering, and I was like, "Dang it!" And then I asked, "Did you see my knees shaking?" and she was like, "Yes (giggle giggle)." She is my hero! Jamie