Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Learning to Roll with the Punches

I got a phone call this week from some random guy named Roy or Ray. (I have trouble with other people's enunciation)  He left me a message "regarding your upcoming appointment."  Sometimes such a phone call means that a surgery has been scheduled or the doctor will be out of town.  A couple of years ago, it meant more bad news about my cancer, but those days were over.  When I finally had a moment to call back, Roy/Ray/whatever had bad news.  My oncologist had decided that he was done working with actual patients.  He was heading back to research, and leaving me, and many other patients, behind.  Too bad, too sad.  Pick up your chart and go home. Thank you and goodbye. 

This was a complete shock.

My oncologist, who I'd been seeing since December of 2014, was dumping me.  I was angry, stunned, and hurt. All that time and effort that I'd put into training that man so he understood my crazy, and he was leaving me.  As an Army brat, I got dumped often, the cost of moving so often.  It wasn't anyone's fault, but once you were no longer around, kids forgot about you.   They just stopped writing, or answering my calls, or being around when I visited.  As someone who had trouble making friends in the first place, this hurt.  I didn't understand. 

But a doctor is different, one might say.  A relationship with a doctor is a business relationship.  Surely those don't count?  Such silliness.  Patient-doctor relationships have a monetary component, true.  However, there is very definitely a relationship, at least to me.  I've had the same dentist since I was twelve. I have been seeing the same Ob-Gyn since 1987. I've been seeing my Primary Care doctor since the 90s.  He gets a copy of every report generated by all of my other doctors, and he actually reads them.  I certainly wouldn't get such attention from a Doc-in-the-Box, and that is why I call it a relationship.   I panicked, but then I handled it.  This wasn't my first rodeo, after all.  I called my Primary Care Doctor's office, and left a message.  He called me later that day.

"I'm freaking out," I told him about the phone call.

"Oh no!" my doctor said, in his usual cheerful voice. "No wonder you're freaking out."  

"Do you know any oncologists?"

In my mind was a completely ridiculous idea that all physicians knew each other, but I was freaking out, remember?  Fortunately, my doctor did indeed know an oncologist.  He gave me the number.   I told him that I felt better, which made him feel better.  Good relationships are like that. 

Time to roll with the punches.  I called and made an appointment with the new oncologist the very next day.  Next week I will continue my cancer journey with someone new.  I will attempt to be patient with him, since he won't have any idea about my general crazy. 

Wish me luck!


  1. I grew up in a military town and with adulthood have lived where people move in and out quickly. I understand the desire for the familiar. But unexpected changes have sometimes proven to be the best. This is probably true in your case. I hope you like the new doctor.

    1. Judging by the other patients in the waiting room, I think I will like him just fine!

  2. Your story touch me deep and all my condolence are with you! Be strong and beat all the challenges in the life.


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