Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I said "No" to my doctor today.

As I drove to the hematologist/oncologist Dr. Richard's office today, I was thinking it would be my last time. I was through with this. I had tested negative for cancer. My blood test last week was normal.

This would be my last visit. I was so happy! I checked in and went to the lab.

The blood draw wasn't easy since my "good" veins are scarring up. Then I went to a waiting room.

While I was reading a year-old magazine, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a big poodle's nose at the entrance to the waiting area. Then it disappeared.

Then, a moment later, a big white poodle came into the waiting area. She was on a leash.

I reached out, without approaching too closely in case it was a service dog, and the owner said, "Go ahead. You can pet her."

Then I saw that he had on a vest designating him as a volunteer. This was a hospital doggy! I reached out and scritched her behind the ear.

And saw the hospital tag around my wrist.

Right. I'm a patient.

I still loved being able to pet the dog, but the moment itself was slightly spoiled.

The nurse came and took me to the exam room and took my vitals. I told her about the negative biopsy test results and how I'd probably not be seeing her anymore. We hugged goodbye.

Dr. Richard came in. More hugs!

I felt sad that it would be our last time. He's very caring. He really listens. And, well, he's a very handsome man with a brilliant smile. I like him a lot.

"So," I said excitedly, "the test results were negative!"

"Yes, but that doesn't tell us everything."


"We'll need to do new scans in November. After all, you did have activity in this throat area and it could have just been a passing virus or a sore throat. But we need to see if it's still active when we test again."

I think I slumped.

Then he looked at CBC test results from when I waked in, "Your hemoglobin is high again. It's 18. I need it down to 15. Let's go ahead and schedule a phlebotomy for today."

"What?? Now?"

I was just so caught off-guard. I've been so compliant up to this point. I've been a really good patient, eating well, getting back into my exercise routine, taking my pills with absolute regularity, getting all the bleedings, the scans and the biopsies...

And for a few weeks I've felt so totally normal. Going out and singing. Working on New World Waking, etc.

And now I was so instantly a REAL patient again. Not just the armband, but the bleeding room, more tests.

I didn't want this. I didn't want to be a patient today.

Then I did something I don't think I've ever done before. Or maybe I have. Who knows. I just told him no.

I said, "I just can't. I can't do it. Not today. Can't I just run more and drink more water?"

"Running dehydrates you. Drink a lot of water when you run."

"Tell me I don't have to do it today."

"It's not critical but that thick blood makes you at risk for stroke, heart attack..."

I just looked at him helplessly, like PLEEEEEZE don't make me go through the ordeal of the bleeding room. Not today... (This all sounds so medieval, huh?).

He relented. "Come back Monday. I'll schedule the phlebotomy for then, but we'll test first to make sure you still need it. Drink a lot of liquids. No caffeine. No alcohol."

"No problem."

Then he felt around my neck and beneath my armpits. Nothing in my neck, but those two glands in my pits are still kind of swollen.

"Do they hurt?"


"Tender here?"


"Good. See you on Monday."

I don't know if I should have had the phlebotomy or not. I just know I couldn't do it. So, now I have the weekend to get myself back into full compliant mode.

And I will. But I still have this week to just feel free.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes enough is enough and it's perfectly normal to just run out of steam, physically and emotionally. You're human (contrary to popular opinion). I think sometimes we get so used to the status quo of all the endless things we already have to manage every day, just to stay well. One more test and one more detail is sometimes just enough to temporarily upset a delicate balance. Ya gotta take a few minutes to get your balance again. At least that's how it is for me.
Love you madly.

Devin Richards said...

good for you!!!
better to have your head together to go back into that doctor & test mode again.
a few days won't make a difference.
i'm proud of you!

Gabi Clayton said...

Monday will come soon enough. Sometimes saying "no" or in this case really "wait" is good self-care, and you know how to do that.

Have a glorious long weekend.

Unknown said...

Sometimes you've gotta be in control - especially after all that (and what you've been through before).

Just know that we love you and are rooting for you 100% over in Santa Rosa!

Hang in there!!!

Steve Schalchlin said...

Thanks everybody! Just writing it out was really helpful.