"The good news:
Your skin looks great!" the doctor stated happily.
The bad news: my skin looks too good.
Yesterday was doctor day for me. Once a week, my stress level skyrockets and I come down with an instant case of white-coat syndrome as I have to meet with Dr. R, the radiation oncologist. She might be nice, but she is a doctor and since last October anyone with an M.D. after their name has two strikes against them in my book (sorry non-vet doctor friends).
We are supposed to meet, discuss how I'm doing and I go on my merry way. Normally there is nothing else, no skin check (unless I request one) and I skedaddle so I can spend the next 23 hours forgetting what I will do the next morning. Yesterday was different.
As I was getting off the table, the tech reminded me it was doctor day. I nodded and then she went on, "And today she decides whether or not to stop the wet towels!"
You see, I have been receiving a "bolus" every other day. Basically, it is supposed to increase (yes, shudder, vomit) the amount of radiation the site is receiving. It's not bad enough I'm frying my chest to death, they do things to make it worse. Now, I just assumed this was SOP for the entire time. I'm only having 25 treatments, no boosts (extra frightening zaps at the end) and I was blissfully ignorant that my wet towel days might be numbered.
Then the tech continued, "But she's probably not going to stop because you are not crispy enough!"
Well, if telling me that there was a chance they could stop wasn't bad enough, she had to add insult to injury. I have NO intention of becoming "crispy." I'm still against the radiation in the first place, but am doing the day-by-day thing and handling it well enough (I think).
I retreated to the dressing room, slathered and stretched, changed and sat down with Peter in the waiting area to share the not-so-great news. He held out hope and I tried to be positive and perhaps inspire my chest to momentarily glare in the doctor's face and encourage her to believe that I should be finished with that whole bolus business.
No such luck. She took one look and declared that my skin looked "GREAT!" so the towel treatments would continue every other day. She then asked about range of motion (still besting Pete, so guessing it's okay) and if my skin was itchy. She seemed surprised when I said no, but seemed happy that I am in good shape overall.
She then reminded me that this was the last full week and next week we get to discuss follow-up appointments. Really, the towel business wasn't bad enough, she had to throw that in there, too. We had already informed her two weeks before (and before starting treatments) that we have no intention of sticking around beyond next summer. She wants to see me (or have someone see me) everything three months for two years*. She'll get her wish for the first 15 months, but then any other visits will be follow-ups with the breast surgeon (who wants to see me for another 4.5 years...blech). I'm not wasting any more time here when I could be happily doing the expat thing elsewhere. So, I'm trying not to stress about it because:
A. Nothing is going to happen
B. There are plenty of good doctors outside of the U.S.
C. My other doctors already agreed that they don't need to see me more than once a year once we move (IF I don't find doctors locally/regionally at our next post)
D. Nothing is going to happen
Six more days...six more days..six more days...it's like a mantra.
*The every 3 month thing is bizarre as the other doctors only want to see me every 6 months...but whatever.