Lain's Log

The apprehension game

May 27/11

Waiting for results is really tough. Hate it. Meanwhile, the appointments are piling up. I'm sittin' here (NOT by the dock of the bay - only wish!), writing down the full list of upcoming visits to Princess Margaret Hospital (so far).

Got word today that I'll learn the results of the $5,000 Oncotype DX diagnostic test at an appointment with Dr. Amir (Medical Oncologist) on June 14th at 11:30 a.m. Gee, only 18 days to bite my nails. (if I had any).

Good God, do I ever need a haircut! Insanity reigns! (or is it, "Serenity NOW!?!")

From what I've read, the Doc will receive a report that includes my Recurrence Score. An R.S. lower than 18 suggests a low risk of recurrence and that the benefit of chemotherapy is likely to be small and will not outweigh the risks (and horrible side effects).

An R.S. between 18 and 31 indicates intermediate risk of recurrence.
Information seems unclear as to whether the benefits of chemotherapy outweigh the risks of side effects.

An R.S. greater than 31 indicates a high risk of recurrence, and the benefits of chemotherapy are likely to be greater than the risks of side effects.

Apparently, some women who have had the Oncotype DX, later learned it was a "failure" or "incomplete" because there wasn't enough sample left from their tumour to actually carry out the test! How disappointing and frustrating would THAT be?

At any rate, all I can do is wait it out. So, in the meantime, here's a pic of my daughter, Kate, and her boyfriend, Damian. Took it while I was outside writing notes.

Cute, eh?

On the same day I meet with Dr. Amir, I also have an appointment at the "Survivorship Clinic." As I've quickly learned, cancer is a life-altering experience in many ways. Princess Margaret Hospital staffers say it's important that patients have a sense of courage, (me, courage??), confidence and control to assist them in knowing, navigating and negotiating their journey, so survivorship consults are offered.

A few weeks ago, a longtime friend of mine told me if I feel I need help with my fears and emotions, not to be afraid to seek professional help.

I thought I was doing OK, (sort of), till learning of this long wait before finding out about chemo, - and then was handed brochures about the joys of radiation therapy. At that moment, I met Shahnaz Bassiri, an oncology nurse with a true gift for kindness and compassion. Next thing I knew, I was crying in her sympathetic aura and telling her I'd like to see a therapist to talk things through. (Never been to one in my life, but guess now's the time). She quickly arranged a referral. So, seems I'll be meeting with someone (I believe a psychosocial oncology representative) on June 22nd. I'd better remember to bring Kleenex.

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