So this is off-topic for me.
In August I had to have a biopsy – and everything is fine, no worries.
But it raised more questions for me about my doctor’s practice and what it means to be pro-active in light of insurance costs and the level of support you may or not receive for being pro-active.
To save space, I’m going to bullet-point a timeline
- Mammogram shows “something” and I have to repeat it.
- My physician, a breast cancer survivor, tells me it could be microcalcification but protocol would be radiation and chemo (Tamoxifil) for 5 years. But it might not be.
- All I hear is “chemo and radiation” and that my hair won’t fall out. I worry about what happens to mom if something happens to me. (Yes, overreaction)
- Meet with surgeon, he is very reasonable and says 80/20 it’s nothing but needs to be biopsied because I haven’t had a mammogram in six years.
- I refuse to be shamed, and remind him he just told me that it could’ve been there six years ago or six weeks ago. And that there is no history in my family. I am feeling confident this is not cancer.
- Show up for what is billed to me as a simple biopsy with a local anesthesia. I am clamped to the table. After 35 minutes they determine they cannot do it like this because the microcalcifications lie on a blood vessel.
- Leave hospital and get to work. Get phone call my mom’s fallen and rush her to the other hospital where we spend the day in the ER
- Worry about what is going on with mom’s falling every two weeks, email brother and sister to please either come home and be with mom while I am out of commission (sister) or visit her and be able to take her to ER if necessary (brother.)
- Receive self-help cd’s from sister, with cheery note that Universe will reward me for caring for my parents. Brother refuses. Period.
- Write letter to Staff Nurse at mom’s facility, explaining situation and asking them to call my cousin in emergency. Cousin agrees to spend day with mom.
- Show up for surgery. Get a guide wire inserted with a local (1 hour Boob Ka Boob! They do not think I am funny) wait 3 hours for surgery (1 hour).
- Surgeon tells my husband nothing to lose sleep over, which I am thankful for because I believed it was just an anomaly and husband was quietly freaking out)
- Nurse calls the next day to see how I am, I say great, taking some Tylenol because pain meds are too strong. She demurs, and says I should take Advil, then I can still take the Hydrocodone. Mmmmm. No.
- I am glad I am ok, but starting to get ticked.
- Nurse calls and confirms the micros are “benign” but warns me that the doctor will explain what this means when I see him. Her tone of voice was a little ominous.
- Getting more ticked because I know what “benign” means, and because I researched microcalcifications before they cut.
- Visit surgeon who asks if nurse told me results. I say “yep, all good under the hood.” He chuckles then tells me about actuarial tables that give percentage of chance of cancer and why insurance won’t pay for MRI for me. Because, you know. I’m healthy, but still need to get a six month mammogram.
- Visit my regular doctor. We disagree on how this all happened with the biopsy. She notes my blood pressure still higher than she likes, changes my .5 Lisinipril to .10. I say nothing because I am done with this.
I check my blood pressure all weekend – it is 133/82.
So that’s a lot of bullet points. The upshot for me is, since my regular doctor joined some large network, and went to computer/digital formats, the service aspect has fallen off. This was a woman who previously cheered and supported my holistic approach to my health. Now she is writing a higher rx for something that is probably the result of my own frustration and anger. Her nurse asked me if I had ever had a biopsy and if I was going to do the bone density testing. I hardly knew how to answer that. “Yes, I had a biopsy two weeks ago.” “What kind” she didn’t bother to look up from her computer.I wondered if I was supposed to tell her they cut, or they couldn’t do the one with the local – I forgot the name. “The kind where they check for cancer.” “No, where” “Breast” So, yeah, I’m irritated. This is the office that ordered it six weeks ago, when I was in there.
I am not at all advocating you stop any rx without consulting your doctor. But for me, increasing this rx means it will be harder to get off of it. My plan is to cut the pills in half, monitor my BP and find a naturopath to use any herbs that may help. This is a personal decision and your experience may be different!
However, I cannot go along with something that makes me feel like I’m being funneled into an insurance and health system that only looks at the bottom line or actuarial tables for my care. I am very disappointed, but I am angry too.