Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Last visit with the surgeon

So I saw the surgeon for my "de-stitching" yesterday.  I was ready to get my reports and tell him how I felt about the way I was treated and get out of there and hopefully never have to return! We got there and of course had to wait.  About 40 minutes later....he strolls in and told me to go ahead and get up on the exam table.  I asked if we could ask some questions first, since last visit we didn't get to.  He looked astounded, but said ok.  I asked him what stage I was.  He said, "Stage 1, wait,ummm..."  he takes out his cell phone and after looking at it for a minute he says," Stage 2.  You were a stage T2. "  I said , "What Clark level and Breslow level am I?"  He looked surprised and said, " Well, you were at like a 1.15mm depth, I told you this before...."  he acted arrogant, like he had somewhere to be and he just wanted me to shut up, get on the table and let him take my stitches out so he could go.  Oh, no, not that easy.  I had questions and I was tired of being dismissed with half assed answers!  I asked him if he could give me a copy of my operative and pathology reports and again he seemed surprised.  He agreed.  He then said, " Oh and your results were actually sent to New York to a dermatopathy lab. "  He had told me Thursday that they had been sent to San Francisco to a lab for a 2nd opinion of results.  So....he was just telling me BS to pacify me.  He then said, " Any more questions?"  Like this was a game to him.  I said," no I guess not!"  Jumped up on the table, not hiding my disappointment.  He again, looked surprised, and said, "Is there a problem?"  I said, " Yes, there is a BIG problem!  I am not happy with the way you are treating me."  I then calmly told him how I had to wait and wait for results, because someone had "misplaced" my slides and that delay along with them sending my results out and not understanding WHY that had to be done, I was basically laying at home thinking I was going to die, that something was seriously wrong and I did not harass them, or him for answers, and he called me back Thursday and made me feel like I was being a problem.  I went on about how I had to initiate every call.  I didn't have clear instructions on discharge and even had what seemed to be an infection and nothing was done about it.  He listened and tried to defend himself a few times.  I needed to just be heard.  I wanted him to know that a little compassion on his part and explanation of what was going on, would have saved me a lot of grief.  I told him that I felt like he was in a hurry to get us out of there and didn't answer our questions last visit.  He didn't apologize.  He simply said, " Well, I thought I called YOU on Friday."  I said, "You did!  And I appreciate not having to wait the entire weekend for results! But you also told me the day before that, that I needed to be patient and the results could not be rushed, that my treatment depended on these results.  He put his head down for a minute. I told him that made me mad and upset me tremendously since I had been dealing with a lot on my own and not calling and bugging him!  He then asked if I had any other questions and I said I had questions about my future.  What about follow up's and precautions, should I get scans.  He asked if I wanted to see the Melanoma Clinic head guy and I said sure.  He then took out my stitches and MAN did that HURT!!  I got my operative report, but the path report was not available yet, he had only gotten a verbal on that Friday.  He said I could call and his secretary would be able to forward it to me. Then he left.  I read my op report and found out that 3 Lymph nodes were actually removed.  He didn't know last week off the top of his head and even thought the report was on his desk he didn't go get it!  We met the  head guy of the melanoma clinic and he was very nice.  He answered my questions.  I don't have to follow up with my surgeon until 1 year from now.  I need to see my dermatologist every 3-6 months. I don't need any scans, they feel that I am complete in my therapy since everything came back clear. I was satisfied. I got home and called my dermatologist.  I have an appointment next Tuesday for removal of a basal cell spot on my chest and I will be asking him what my follow ups should be.  I have this horrible feeling that it is going to come back or that I already have another spot somewhere that I don't know about and I am scared to death!  I will definitely be going to University of Michigan for any further treatments, if I need them.  For now, they say I am clear.  I do not have any melanoma cells, (from this particular mole), in my lymph nodes or around the original site.  I am not quite sure what that means.  I am going to be getting the path report as soon as it is available.  It was only a verbal that he was given.  I don't know what the "T" stands for....I have heard of A or B, not T.  I never told him that I am in the medical field.  I let him talk down to me at every visit, like I didn't know med terminology.  I wanted him to tell me like I was new to this, sometimes that way you get more info. 
I went back to work today and they allowed me to do a sit down job since I am still having a lot of swelling and problems walking.  My leg is numb from my knee to my groin on the inside of my leg above my incision.  It swells behind my knee and in my upper thigh.  I can't straighten my leg out completely either.  But, I can do more every day.  I am not going to let this get me down.  Everyday I reach a new milestone.  It sometimes gets frustrating because I want to do everything NOW!  But, I am trying to remind myself, that it will happen.  I can't rush the healing process. 
I feel like I want to do something special to raise awareness and money for Melanoma research.  I know they are finding out new things everyday and I hope I will see a cure in my lifetime.  I also hope that I can make people stop tanning!  I know it's a lot to ask, but maybe my scar will be scary enough to get my point across!!

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