The joys of cancer treatment just keep on giving. When you’re on hormone adjuvant treatment (in my case as premenopausal 45 year old, it’s estrogen mimicker tamoxifen) the lining of your uterus (endometrium for those of us playing at home) thickens and you’re at risk for endometrial cancer.
So I was in an appointment with a doctor I’ve never met before but who was going to make the decision whether my thickened lining could be “watch and wait” or I needed a biopsy right then and there and I was explaining my cancer history.
And I was telling her all about the shock fog I was in during the first few appointments and how I don’t remember very much from that time. But I wished I’d known then what I know now. Which is: doctors have great breadth of knowledge, but you are the one who knows your particular tumor/disease the best.
1. The more we know, the more we can fight for our lives. (You can’t rely on the doctor to be 100 percent in the game of fighting for YOUR life. They have many lives they are fighting for.)
2. Asking questions is not making trouble. (Kirsten’s corollary….ASK ASK ASK)
3. No two cancers are the same. Become an expert in YOUR cancer.
4. Take note of EVERY potential side effect. Report everything. (and Kirsten’s corollary ASK if the benefits of the treatment outweigh the risks. Some treatments only confer small percentages of benefit and come with terrible side effects)
5. Clinical trials are not a last-resort option. (I’m in two of them, but my treatment came through Mayo clinic and they’re a research-heavy environment)
6. Cancer is not just a physical disease.