Wednesday, June 20, 2012

To Scan or Not to Scan? That is the Question!

So, I went to the U of M, (University of Michigan) a couple of  weeks ago for my long waiting, much anticipated, second opinion, and I came away with mixed emotions.  I guess I thought they would do what I wanted and not tell me I was wrong.  What do I want?  A scan to see if there is melanoma inside of me hiding out somewhere.  I was treated wonderfully from the minute I scheduled my appointment.  I loved it there and felt like they were going to help me and protect me, except for ONE thing.  I asked the doctor, who was a head doc of the melanoma clinic, how he feels about scans for a lowly Stage 2'er like me.  He said that he doesn't do them.  He asked me a bunch of questions, "do you have blurred vision?" "No ."  "Do you have pain in between your shoulder blades?"  "No."  " Do you have abdominal pain?"  "No." "Coughing up blood?"  "No."   I knew where this line of questioning was leading, and I did think about fibbing a little to get what I wanted, but I know that is not the way to do this.  He then said, "Well, your lymph nodes are not swollen,"  as he checked them in my groin and armpits, neck, and abdomen, " and you don't have any symptoms that would warrant a scan."  I pretty much quit listening for about a full minute.  I was very disappointed and kind of mad.  I was really hoping that they of ALL places, would be proactive and order a scan for me.  I couldn't believe it.  I felt like I had just wasted my time and money that I don't have to waste!  I tried listening to what he was saying and he was telling me all the reasons why they don't do them, "the insurance company...blah, blah...."  I kept nodding my head, half listening to him, getting madder by the second.  Then when he was done.  I said, "then why do they do scans on people who have stage 1 breast or stage 1 lung cancer?"  I know he knew I was mad.  I know he knew what I wanted.  He explained to me that even if they scanned me it will not pick up minute little cells.  I started explaining to him that I can't live in fear like this anymore and that I came here for help, to get a scan.  i know too many people that were given the all clear and are not here any longer.  I pleaded my case and I bawled my eyes out.  He was very sympathetic, and he said he understood why I was scared.  Then he told me that I was not a stage 2a, that I am a stage 1b.  Well, you can imagine how that made me feel!  I was angry at first, thinking he didn't know me at all!  So I defended myself and told him I AM stage 2a.  He said that based on my pathology report, I am actually a 1b because the tumor was only 1 mm.  I snapped and said, "It was not!  It was 1.10 mm and I was told I am stage 2a."  He dropped it.  He asked me if I wanted to speak to a psychiatrist ( I know that sounds bad, but he was really trying to help!)  and I agreed without hesitation that I should.  He was very nice, he did a through skin exam, the first one I have ever had!  My dermatologist acted weird when I asked for one after my diagnosis!  He gave me referrals to a good dermatologist in my area, since I was not going to go back to the one I was seeing.  He also said they would contact me about setting up a visit with the psychiatrist who specializes in cancer patients.  He then said they would remove the mole that was bothering me on my shoulder if I wanted him to and I agreed.  He did it quickly and less painfully than ever.  He gave me a hug and told me if I really wanted to get a scan, he would order it.  I nodded and thanked him.  I didn't quite get what I wanted, but maybe there is an option after all.  I think it would be pretty hard to get this paid for by the insurance, so I have decided to just watch and wait.  If I have any of the symptoms, I will not hesitate to call him and get a scan.  Until then, I will try to accept that I don't need one.  That might be easier said than done.  But, I am willing to try.  Wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. Johnnie Powell's face had a small spot that looked different. It was purple and white and itched. That spot started because a melanocyte had grown a cancerous tumor. He was told by his family doctor that he had a melanoma.

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