Friday, April 02, 2010

Ding Ding! Round Two

In popular Cancer jargon, I think we can all agree that we've become accustomed to people using the term "round." E.G., "round one," "round two," "round fucking infinity," in my case, it turns out. (Some also say cycle; I think the two are interchangeable.)

Well, in the high-falutin world of Dr. Norton's Sloan-Kettering that I've become a part of, not only is it a pedestrian term (!), but one that's actually sort of incomprehensible and unfamiliar. In trying to schedule my next checkup with Norton, I had to find out how long I could wait between round one, and round two. (In this instance, I'll embrace being pedestrian.)

I ended up getting in touch with Norton's nurse Karen before Schwartz. I'm not sure if she's a nurse practitioner or even a physician's assistant, but Karen is one smart cookie.

"I'm trying to figure out how much time should elapse between my first round and second, so I know when to see Norton."

"What do you mean by 'round'? I'm a little confused."

"Uh, well, you know I'm done with this treatment cycle May 10th. Then whenever I start again, that will be round two, right?"

"Oh, okay, I see what you're saying. We don't really use that term."

"Oh. Well, I guess I was confused about this treatment cycle being a finite thing. I didn't really ask Schwartz about needing another round. Didn't realize that you keep doing it until I'm in, like, full remission?"

"I'm still confused. We don't think in terms of stopping and starting again."

"Ummm, well, like, the first time it was a four month cycle, so I assumed that this time it was the same type of thing."

"Oh, I see. No, it's different when there's a recurrence. In that case, we just keep going until we have the response we want. I mean, you can have a small break between the treatments. And we'll look at how you're doing in terms of quality of life, and then adjust the dosage or change the schedule. Maybe you'll have one week on, one week off [etc.]. . . ."

BAM! Reality punches me in the punim and it's a total fucking TKO. 'I'm going to be one of those women in constant chemotherapy; one of those women I said I'd never want to be like. With no quality of life. Shut up Stephanie, stop thinking like that. You were doing so well with your mental state.'

Ugh, Wally just farted, so that's my cue. I will finish this later. I've got to go to Shrink, where likely I'll break down telling him this. Luckily I'm treating myself to a massage from Chad afterwards.