Monday, September 14, 2009

Oncology Appointment #1

So, there I am, sitting in the examination room, after doing my time in the waiting room watching cheerful, hairless people come and go. I was surprised that I was, by far, the youngest person in the room.

Anyway, here is the picture on the wall in exam room #8, where I was placed. You can click to enlarge.


Do you see what that is?  It's a cat, holding a hand mirror out, brushing his hair. Or fur; whatever. 

As I sat there, waiting for the doctor who will eventually administer toxic poisons to my body that are designed to kill all fast-growing cells - like, um, hair  - I wondered about the logic of putting that picture in an oncology exam room.  

What is it trying to tell me?  

Is this a mid-chemo cat, brushing his hair while it's coming out in big chucks that we can't see?  The eyes do look quite demonic and distressed. Is he soon to be an ugly, skinny, sickly hairless cat that will have to wear a full body do-rag with big earrings?

Or, is this supposed to demonstrate what happens after the chemo?  Is it telling me, never fear, cats and woman both grow their hair back after chemo and pretty soon, I'll be looking in a mirror, brushing my fur too?

Is it an evil joke, torturing us cancer patients with the knowledge that even a cat can brush its hair, and we can't? Ha ha!!

The fact that it's a pussy cat - is that a subtle hint about the places I'll lose my hair?

I couldn't figure it out, so I stopped staring at it, and I picked up a wig catalog until the doctor came in. (Some of those wigs looked like they could have been made from cat fur - maybe that was the message? A promotional poster from the cat hair wig company?)

The doc, by the way, was wearing a tie with old Chevys and big American flags on it.  I am now pretty sure he picked that picture out himself.  

I liked the guy a lot and found him personable and intelligent in a geeky way, which is my style. But unfortunately, he had nothing to tell me.  He said he can't make any recommendations until after I have surgery and he doesn't usually see patients until then.    I told him I had a strong desire for lumpectomy over mastectomy and could the cancer be shrunk down before surgery to accomplish that goal? He said yes, but he also seemed to think a lumpectomy wasn't likely given my cancer soup, but "I'm not a surgeon.."  He said my large breasts would be good for lumpectomy as smaller breasts have worst cosmetic results but unfortunately, my thinness would work against me if I have mastectomy - no DIEP reconstruction for me as there is no extra skin or fat anywhere on me.  I'd have to get those big, fake, plastic, hollywood boobs I always thought looked ridiculous.

Anyway, it was kind of a wasted appointment but it was nice to meet him, and he made another appointment for November 10.  He figures I'll be a month out of surgery by then, but if it comes earlier, I can always reschedule.

Tomorrow, the MRI.  

I hope at the MRI place there are no pictures of cats with their nipples in machines. 

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