Monday, September 20, 2010

Wise Counsel

I started and ended my day with two great phone calls, reconfirming what a great team I am assembling for the treatment of my cancer and making all these difficult decisions.

My radiation oncologist, Dr. Lotus, returned my call early in the day, and my surgeon, The Wizard, finished his day with a phone call to me.

I feel so blessed that these physician's are on my team, not just for their competence and experience treating my disease, but for the care, concern and wise counsel they give to this patient.

Both conversations were unrushed and a dialogue.  It was very satisfying to hear them "think out loud" with me.  Neither gave me any hard position, because the truth is with much of what we discussed, there is none.

I realize I am part of a new wave of innovative cancer treatment, and there is continuing debate among colleagues on the myriad choices of care, reconstruction and after care.  Today, each of my doctors, helped me balance and weigh my options, allowed me to ask many questions, and within the parameters of personal decisions I need to make, helped me get closer to the best for me.

It was great that as part of my "cancer treatment team" these two always started with "Let's look first at what is best for your cancer treatment" and then "Ok, here are some things for you to consider regarding your reconstruction..."  Or "This has been my experience..."

It was helpful to discuss the two plastic surgeons I am considering, and the arguments on either side of radiation prior to, or just after, reconstruction.  It was great to hear that either plastic surgeon is highly recommended and regarded by their colleagues, and both considered extremely likable and caring of their patients.

After discussing what is NECESSARY for the best treatment for my cancer, we switched to "Ok, all things being equal between the two, skill/competence/experience, what is my gut telling me about who would be a better fit for me?"

Each of these doctors today listened to my concerns and allowed me to bounce several things off them, provided answers in some instances, in others, helped me define my list of priorities and hopes in a cosmetic outcome.

I just can't say enough about the care, accessibility and attention that was given to me today, and how absolutely helpful and appreciated it was.  It doesn't hurt that I ask great questions and have obviously done my homework.  I know they appreciate that about me.  The Wizard said today "Well, you have beautifully summarized both sides of this, let's talk about each..."

I know I am heading in the right direction.  I should be hearing from the insurance company this week, and will be relieved to make a decision and finalize the plan.

How profoundly your care and confidence is positively affected when you have a personal connection with your provider, and can use them as a valuable resource towards the direction of your care.  I am moving closer to making the best informed decision I can for myself, and so thankful for my team.

The Good Witch, The Wizard and Dr. Lotus have all provided wise counsel in helping me navigate the labyrinth of choices for the creation of my new body.

I'm really grateful.

I'm also a good lesson in what it looks like to be your own best advocate.

You get what you pay for.
You get back what you put in.

I'm doing my homework and it's coming back to me.

That, and it don't hurt the angels and starlight in my pocket.

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