Monday, November 02, 2009

Just The Stats, Please

Can someone tell me how not to freak out in the interim between now and Thursday? When I go to Schwartz to get labs and see IF this Chemo cocktail is working?

Since Cancer Is the New Black is on my runway again this season, I thought it was time for a refresher on the cast of characters whom I usually refer to by last name and or title.

This is my "team." I have a fucking team. Who am I? Phil Jackson?

Michael Schwartz—primary oncologist Miami Beach
Larry Norton (aka Anna Wintour of Breast Cancer)—oncologist at Sloan
Gary Rosenbaum—plastic surgeon
Thomas Mesko—breast surgeon
Laura Rappaport (aka Dr. Laura)—Los Angeles based psychotherapist, who I've been with for 10 years and do phone sessions with
Ilan Melnick—Miami Beach psychiatrist/psychopharmacologist
Chad Bailey—acupuncturist, nutritionist, Oriental medicine PhD, all around guru/healer
Jacob Tangir (aka McHottie)—oncological gynecologist

(For those of you in a Breast Cancer situation, yes, these are THE only doctors I would send anyone to. All of 'em. Happy to connect, as usual.)

I lay in bed at 1 a.m. last night after popping a Seroquel and was feeling around my sternum. What I felt was a lump; when I stood up it looked and felt like my breast bone. Although I was reading a Gossip Girl novel—the BEST distraction ever—after about 20 minutes of feeling myself up, I had to pop a Klonopin. I simply cannot live like this—obsessively feeling every inch of my body for lumps. I don't even know what every inch of my body is supposed to feel like—do you? I mean, WTF? Is that a tendon or a foot-long tumor? A knot in my neck or a malignancy? You get the drift.

So this a.m. after obsessing all night—though I did manage to relax in Naples over the weekend and got a great facial that eradicated the disgusting acne the Chemo cocktail is causing—I decided to be even more proactive.

The order of the recurrence events are as follows. (Some of you may remember, but it's kind of an unusual situ. Unusual, moi? No way.)

I was at McHottie's office for a regular gyno check up. He specializes in "down there;" is the onco surgeon who would remove my ovaries; and is quite possibly one of the sexiest men alive. A Moroccon Jew by way of Argentina I believe. When his hand is up your vjayjay, you don't feel a thing cause, well, you're drooling and he's talking to you in a soothing manner. He palpated my neck; found the enlarged node. Next up was Mesko, who did the ultrasound and biopsy, with the ultrasound showing lots of enlarged nodes in the neck. The largest one being the one McHottie had discovered. Finally, the bloodwork run by Schwartz proved the nodes were malignant and that The Cancer Was Back. Oct 5—four weeks ago today.

Okay, so an ultrasound (sonogram) for CPs works the same way as it does for Breeders. The diff being the only thing living inside this bitch is Cancer. The sonogram allows Mesko (and me, if I'm not too much of a pussy to look at the screen) to immediately see the tumors, their locations etc., but also enables Mesko to determine the exact size of the malignancy in centimeters.

I'm a journalist. I need the facts. I want backup for the facts. I want sources and dates and times and all the research I would need if I were covering a story on someone like me. I am covering a story on me, after all.

So, my question this morning was: Why not have another sonogram in addition to the blood work Schwartz will run on Thursday? That way Mesko could compare the films from last month to this month. I called Mesko's office and spoke to his amazing nurse Peggy and ran the scenario by her. She didn't see why not, but I had to have Schwartz verify. Just spoke to Schwartz.

"Doc, you know how obsessive I am. I just don't think I can deal with this whole feeling the lumps thing without some concrete proof they are shrinking. You know, I want the numbers. I just need this to put my mind at ease. So is that out of the question/unreasonable/paranoid crazy?"

He said there's no harm in it; whatever makes me happy. So now I'm waiting on Peggy's call back to see if Mesko can see me after Schwartz on Thursday. Mom—in her typical, sadistic way of transporting herself here—is leaving Jax at like 5 a.m. to arrive in time for the appointment. In the meantime, I'm burning my candle that a Wiccan high priestess from New York cast a "health spell" on every day and night. I have a chant and everything. It's super cool. And within the chant, I finally found myself a mantra that's easy to remember and rhymes.

I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be for Thursday. Until then, stay tuned for the craziness.

Oh, and if you haven't already, please watch this video of Norton on ABC World News Tonight, where he smacks down that bastard who heads up the American Cancer Society, regarding early detection, which saves lives like mine.