Today is daffodil day. Interestingly I also had my appointment with the gynaecologic oncologist this morning, Doctor Tan. When I got here I was reading the board outside the lift to work out which floor he’s on and a guy walked up, asking if he could help. Turns out it was the doctor himself, I followed him up, funny times. I said I was struggling to find his name on the board and he said thats because he tries to keep a low profile. He treats a very certain type of patient and doesn’t want to invite the riff raff.
I then came in and filled out their form on the iPad. I guess that’s the easiest way to get all the information into a computer database. The old girls that came in didn’t have troubles with it so I guess that’s a winner for them. I had issues with mine, had to fill it in twice because the submit email didn’t work. When I came back out it was actually that someone clever had turned off the WiFi on that iPad. Oh well, I guess it only made the doctors day run late, I was his first appointment, sorry everyone else.
I went into his office and he is a mister fancy man! Not sure if he’s a wanker type or if he’s just really good at his job. Aside from the office I didn’t get much wanker vibe. *shrug* The office: It has a wall full of antique cameras. A giant TV screen, I guess for showing patients things, and two screens on his desk bigger than my TV. They’re both touch screens too. Then his desk is a super fancy piece of timber, original shape. I guess he gets lots of money in this job.
He started off with a quick, you’re really lucky, this is stage 1A1. We caught it very early and said that the next step is cone biopsy in another three weeks. He then took me to the exam room to have a look…another fancy room. The exam room has the huge TV screen too. A bed. And a chair. The chair was super cool. You sit down and they press a button and it turns around and places you in position. Then the camera was turned on and the TV showed….well freaking everything. He noted my recovery from the LLETZ was going super well, took a photo, then returned to his office. I caught up with him in his office once I’d got dressed again.
Once there he told me the go. He needs to do a cone biopsy to check out a larger area as the LLETZ results showed there was still compromised tissue around the edges. While he’s there he’ll look further into the uterus and check the lymph nodes, glands, and bladder for any signs of the cancer spreading. This will determine the extent of further treatment. He can’t do the cone biopsy until six weeks after the LLETZ, something about it needing to heal first. I said ‘but it’s all the same area and you’re taking out the same shit’, he looked at me like I was mad and I reminded him that it was healing well and told him I’m relocating and need all this happening fast. He said that there is a higher risk of bleeding and infection etc if we don’t wait three more weeks. So I wait.
He then got onto the next steps and started talking about a hysterectomy being needed. He eventually asked if I had kids and how old I was. His tune changed a bit then to a ‘we don’t want to rush these things, it’s an irreversible decision’. I didn’t swear at him this time…I told him I’d never wanted children and they weren’t part of my life plan. My only reservation about a hysterectomy is menopause at 31 is not cool. He went back to the next steps.
I have the cone biopsy in three weeks, then when the results come through they will determine if I need a hysterectomy and if yes whether I get a ‘simple’ or ‘radical’. Once the cone results come in I have another appointment with him, then a physio to talk about the exercises to do pre-operation, then the op. He asked if I had any questions. I asked if this could be a secondary cancer. He said very unlikely that it is secondary to something else or there’d be other symptoms. He also said that it is an early catch so it’s unlikely to have spread but the cone and the extra looking around will tell him. So chances of full-recovery-and-all-gone are very high.
I then asked about treatment in Melbourne. He said if it is a simple hysterectomy then I’ll be able to travel very soon after. He has country patients that do the surgery, are in hospital a day or two, then fly back to their home. No driving for three weeks but with laparoscopic I’ll feel better faster and many patients drive earlier accepting the insurance implications. I then signed his ‘I understand’ form and took the paperwork to the front desk. They had the hospital forms for me to fill in while they prepared a little this is your treatment program pack. The girl came over (in the waiting area, I find it odd they have this chat with all the others waiting about) and talked me through the pack info and timeline.
I have info about the hospital and the anaesthetist, she told me they’ll both contact me beforehand, I guess like with the LLETZ. I have a bill for the cone biopsy to pay by a week before; doctor Tan isn’t affiliated with a private health insurer so I have a nice big $1600 bill to pay. Thankfully the anaesthetist and hospital are both HBF so shouldn’t be too much from them. The timeline is:
- Cone biopsy on 16 September
- Results discussion 2 October (a Friday so the GynaeOncology Tumour Board will have already reviewed my case)
- Pre-op physio 2 October (assuming surgery required)
- Surgery mid October
- Six weeks recovery (3 weeks no driving) and post op physio
So there we have it. I have more tests and investigations to do before anyone decides what treatment to have.
I had a call from Doctor Mokala the other day (maybe Tuesday). She was just calling to check that someone had followed up on the cancer results. She’d been away sick the week before or she’d have called earlier. That is a good thing to know, that the doctors actually follow up their patients results.
This is all going up, cbf with private posts. The more people talk about these sorts of things the more awareness gets out there. So no hiding for me. But if anyone gives me sympathy…watch out!