He said, but I heard…

It is never that I am operating at one speed for more than a day or two.

Friday’s meeting with my surgeon left me feeling that there was no hope of ever being cancer-free.  He was speaking to me from a surgeon’s perspective – and at that point, he could not operate.

What he said was, “Your quality of life will not be improved if I operate now”.

What I heard was, “You need to make today count because I cannot help you through surgery.”

What he said was, “We need to wait until the cancer has shrunk.”

What I heard was, “The cancer is not shrinking”.

What he said was, “I will take your case to the team since I am a gynecologist.  Your liver is troubling me more than anything else.”

What I heard was, “I cannot help you and so I need to get help from other cancer specialists.  We cannot manage the cancer in your liver.”

What he said was, “We will do another two rounds of chemo and then re-assess”.

What I heard was, “We will not be able to do anything if you don’t improve after two more treatments”.

Yeah.  So – I left Dr. Dodge not having really heard what he said.  Kevin was with me and he had not heard anything differently.  I had so many questions after I had participated in my “Still Saturday”.  This was the day I just could not talk to anyone.  I had to just let my brain sort through the information.  By Sunday, the dust settled.  Kevin and I talked about what we both thought we had heard while we walked.  He had heard what I had heard – but was that really what was meant?  It was like Dr. Dodge had tried to give us neutral information with the intention of not leading us into despair or hope.  But information can never be neutral and Kevin and I both tried to decide whether the news was good or bad.  We both concluded that it was more bad than good – but not horrible.

So, today’s meeting with my chemo doctor was foreboding.  I expected her to say, “no use in doing chemo”.  I expected her to say, “you are not responding”.  I expected her to say, “we need to give you a more aggressive chemo cocktail for your liver”.

I thought it was a good thing I had an appointment first.  I used to be a skeptic of therapy, but I have learned that it can really make a difference in a person’s perspective.  The session was mostly just information gathering – but I did watch myself cry while I spoke about the impact of my cancer on my family.  There is was:  I am worried about my family.  Okay – that is more clear and that will be the focus of my therapy.  I will also work on mindful meditation.  Done.  I am scheduled for another five sessions before Christmas – I will keep an open mind.

The therapist was located in the same building as the “wig” people, so, I found the wig place and entered thinking I would make an appointment.  If I was to have another session of chemo – then I knew my hair loss would be prolonged and I do NOT want to be bald for Christmas.  I didn’t need to make an appointment as the stylist was free.  I sat in the chair, I tried on three wigs.  I bought the third one and walked out.  Poof!  It was quick and easy.  Well, the purchase was easy.  Wearing the wig was not so easy.  Would people know I was wearing a wig?  Would it blow off in the wind?

It didn’t blow off.  People didn’t point and laugh.

I went to RVH to check in to see Dr. Singh.  I waited. Kevin met me in the waiting room.

“How does it look?”  I asked Kevin.

“Stacey, it looks great.  I’m happy you did that for yourself.”

“It doesn’t look fake?”

“No, it looks good.  Good for you!”

“I needed to boost my spirits and thought a wig may help.  I am nervous about this appointment, Kevin”.

I expected to hear more bad news from Dr. Singh when we were called into her office.


“Your biggest tumor on your liver has shrunk by 1 cm.  And another has shrunk by 1 1/2 cms.  So, it seems you are responding to the chemo.  It is looking promising.”

I could have jumped up and kissed her, my Dr. Singh.

“Could you repeat all of that please”  I begged.

I just wanted to be sure I had heard what I had heard.  I nearly cried for joy.  What a different interpretation of my CT scan.  I was delighted.

“Your neutrophils are low so we may delay your chemo for a week.”

“Crap!” I thought.

Kevin jumped in, “But she did her bloodwork on Friday so that was a while ago – they may be higher now.”

“Right”, she replied.  “Let’s go ahead with chemo then, but come in early and we will take a sample that same day”.

I was thrilled!

Here I am back at warp speed again and ready to kill me some cancer this Wednesday!

About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
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12 Responses to He said, but I heard…

  1. kiwiskan says:

    I reckon the good news outweighs the bad. Let’s hope there’s even more good news by Christmas… When I was young we used to buy wigs just for a change of pace 🙂

  2. Tom Graves says:

    Glad to see you standing in faith again. I agree with you that this cancer will continue to die this Wednesday, In Jesus Name. Here is a Word from the Lord for you, Philippians 4:6-8: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (New American Standard Bible) Blessings, Tom

  3. Oh Stacey that is fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m grinning like a dufus. 🙂

    Kick it and kill that cancer! 🙂

  4. pepesapam says:

    Yaaaaay..!!! that is such a wonderful news Stacey…..:-) keep on fighting..and God Bless you always 🙂

  5. Martin Langmuir says:

    I had blood work done last week and see my Oncologist on Wed, for a 6 month checkup so I will come by for a visit and check up on you.

  6. fouresthsister says:

    I loved reading this today…I was encouraged…thank you for that.

  7. Kathy says:

    OMG…I went through the same thing with Surgeon vs Oncologist !!!! So confusing. Such a different perspective from both. I heard one thing and my husband heard something else. It sent me into a really weird kind of weepy black hole of depression. Finally my Radiation Oncologist just burst out and said ” I wish surgeons would just shut up and leave the oncology to us”. They totally put my mind at ease. I’v also seen Dr. Singh and she’s a sweetheart !!

    • inmycorner says:

      Wow – itsn’t that crazy! It is good to know that I am not alone in this piece! And that you had Dr. Singh too is very cool. It makes sense, though, that each type of doctor focuses on his/her own area. It reminds me of the battle in high schools when department heads don’t talk to one another.

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