Disagreeing with doctors

People disagree, it happens all the time. What about when it really matters? What about when it is about you and you aren’t a medical professional but you have a very strong opinion about what should happen and why?

I didn’t want cancer. Didn’t want any part of it at all. My opinion and feelings about this didn’t matter, not one little bit. I did know that early diagnosis played a big part in survival rates. Survival is the goal.

I didn’t want to have chemo. The pathology on my lymph nodes showed that I needed chemotherapy, I agreed to do it. When was the first disagreement with a doctor. It was very important to me to finish chemo in 2018. This was a purely psychological desire, to end it in 2018 to start 2019 clean so to speak.

The chemotherapy I had was once every 21 days. That would put my last infusion on Jan 4. This is why I felt it was ok to move it. The second one was moved up three days for Thanksgiving. Ok, that puts us at Jan 1 move it up three days and voila! it is December 29, 2018. It got weird– it is ok to move infusions up for a national holiday, but not on a patient’s whim.

Ok, she didn’t say it in those words. I might have been mid internal chemo tantrum when processing this.

I kept pleading my case, why it was important to me, I was tolerating the meds pretty well, you know, considering. Why not get it over with sooner rather than later?

We met in the middle, but only because I stood my ground and kept proposing solutions. Instead of another three day jump, how about moving each one up two days. Of course, my blood work would always be the deciding factor if this was a reasonable course of action for me. Thankfully my blood cooperated and my last infusion was in 2018. 2019 was chemo free!

My surgeon wanted me to be at a certain level of health before my third surgery. My opinion was to get to it sooner rather than later, too. That was my basic MO when it came to anything pertaining to cancer, let’s get it all over with sooner rather than later.

She didn’t want to operate until I met certain milestones: no pain, good blood work, decent energy level, normal EKG, among other things. I failed miserably at the no pain piece and the infection causing the pain made the blood work fail, it took a pretty big chunk of my energy level, too. Hard no.

She wasn’t fooled by me faking it. I pinched my cheeks to look a little rosy. I slammed a venti coffee right before the appointment. My first cup in almost a decade, the caffeine was effective in boosting my energy. She, being a trained professional, was not fooled by my sadly weak attempts to fool her and surgery was not scheduled.

The reason I even made the attempt to look healthier is that I was running out of short term disability and that was causing a bit of panic. She told me that everything was going to be ok, just let things heal, get some rest and let things unfold they way they were supposed to. She stood firmly on no surgery until the criteria was met. She also told me to see an ENT.

My ENT fixed me. I got some sleep. My blood work returned to normal. My surgeon scheduled the surgery without hesitation. Panic about short term disability receded a little. Everything worked out very nicely, you know…considering.

There will be times you disagree with your doctor. There are times where doctors and I will disagree, even now, and we have to have a meeting of the minds and I either go their way, my way or a compromise. The important thing is that we trust each other to have open dialog and when we come to agreement we both follow through. It is much easier to advocate for yourself if you follow those ground rules.

Published by survivorsherpa

I am a wife and mother to three daughters, a chemist and a breast cancer survivor. I would very much like to help others by caring and advocating for them while sharing my experiences and tips that may help to thrive during and after treatment.

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