The Next Step

4

I’m learning that when it comes to health issues, patience is a virtue… and one God must think I need some practice in living out!

Yesterday’s appointment with the oncologist was very informative.  The doctor spent so much time discussing with us my diagnosis and the treatment route he is recommending.  I always wonder if I’m getting preferential treatment for being a “doctor’s wife” – I hope every patient who walks into an appointment with my oncologist receives the same compassionate, detail filled orientation to life as a cancer patient.  In reality, my prognosis is so wonderfully optimistic that I was likely a happy reprieve in the day of a very caring physician who has to deliver a lot of bad news every day to most of the people he treats.

It seems that the next step in the path to crossing this little episode off my list is to visit a Radiation Oncologist – different from the Oncologist we saw yesterday, who will oversee the medication treatment phase that begins after 7 weeks of radiation.

So there will be yet another doctor’s appointment prior to treatment beginning, and that process will likely begin in early January.  Right now, I’m waiting to find out which Radiation Oncologist is covered by the HMO insurance we switched to this year.

Honestly, dealing with the insurance aspects of this have been the most confusing and frustrating part of the process.  Every time I feel myself getting anxious or upset about all of the hoops we jump through, I remember and say a prayer for those who are really sick and have no coverage at all.

When we were at the Cancer Center yesterday, I had such a surreal sensation of “I shouldn’t be here, taking up space for those who are so sick!”  All around us were patients who looked pretty bad – ill, uncomfortable, and in varying stages of treatment.  We were greated by “Bob”, a volunteer ombudsman and 8 year cancer survivor who oriented us to the center.  When he refused to let me walk up the stairs to the second floor and insisted on the elevator, I wanted to shake him and tell him, “I’m not really sick, Bob!”  I felt like an imposter – taking up services (inlcuding elevator time!) for people who are far worse off.  Bob, in a jaunty Santa hat and sporting a big cane, wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I obliged him.

My oncologist, Dr. H., is such a nice man.  I tried to convince him that we could skip seeing the next specialist, but sadly that’s not the way things are done.  So there will be another appointment in a different Cancer Center likely within the next week or two.  The list maker in me wants to be able to put a date on my calendar that says “Radiation treatment complete” but, alas, that won’t be happening just yet.

The good news is that, as we’ve read, DCIS is a very treatable form of breast cancer and the future is incredibly bright.  I’m learning a lot as we go through this, mostly about myself spiritually and emotionally.  I’m also finding this to be a great way to focus on true prayers for those who face tremendous health, emotional and well-being challenges these days.  I hope you will join me in those prayers!

Image note – I found this image of an old radiation therapy treatment online.  It’s amazing how far technology has come and how wonderful it is that I can feel so confident about my treatment.  The precious baby in this photo reminds me to pray for all of the children who face difficult diagnoses and for their parents who suffer along with them.

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

4 Comments

  1. Wow, Lisa, thanks so much for sharing all of this. I think that God has really given you much grace to face this thing head on with courage and with compassion for all of the others who are worse off. You are in our daily prayers, and when I wake up in the night, I pray for you. I’m sure that you will be really instrumental in helping others – I just know it! Thank you for your wonderful example to light the way for others. 🙂

    God bless and love,

    Donna

  2. Hang in there~I empathize with you in regards to getting it on your calendar!
    I too am a planner & feel the need to “get going” & “fix it” when things are so out of my own control.
    So please know that your feelings are understood, dear friend!

  3. Lisa,
    You are in our family and my childrens Wednesday night prayers. Hang tough and know that you are loved and admired by the people you have touched through your faith.

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