Seeing a New Oncologist

Seeing a New Oncologist

Today was for seeing a new oncologist. I waited a long-ass time to see the doctor despite arriving early. I never got the new patient forms in the mail (I suspect they went to the old address and are in USPS mail forwarding limbo now).

So I had to fill out the forms when I arrived, and it took me 45 minutes to finish them. This is cancer, folks. Everything feels extra except the goodwill of insurance companies and their employees.

I dont really have an opinion of my new oncologist. I was so tired of sitting in chairs by the time he came into the room that I don’t know for sure if he was hastier than I’m accustomed to, or if I was just too exhausted. Maybe a snail passing me on the sidewalk would have made me feel lost in a whirlwind too.

Not that I’m complaining. I was ready to go home and crawl into bed before the nurse even slipped the pulse oximeter on my index finger. Bed, coincidentally, is where I’m composing this update.

My next MRI will be at the end of the month. I basically just need to know where things stand with the tumor so I know where to go from here. This cancer center doesn’t really do palliative care, so I will be relying mostly on my primary physician for the non-tumory stuff. Which is good. She’s close, and seems like an excellent doctor.

And if I’m saying that after a single visit, she left a very good first impression. Because I no longer know how to give doctors the benefit of the doubt. (If you don’t know why, read basically any blog post from 2015-2016 or the Lincoln Financial Group stuff.) They all have to earn my thanks now.

So I’m glad to have that initial encounter done. My immediate medical future appears to be requesting records, getting labs and imaging done, and procrastinating on getting a routine mammogram.

Ugh.

Anyway, in keeping with a tradition started back in 2017 when I was at Barnes-Jewish, I had ice cream after my appointment. Now I want a nap before Dan and I watch the finale of whatever season of GBBO we’re on.

Also, speaking of TV, I need more Ted Lasso.

Spoopy Little Christmas

Feeling down and run down today. So, here’s a picture of Pipsquatch to cheer me (and maybe you too) up. He made the move to Mom’s too.

I Can’t Think of a Good Title

I Can’t Think of a Good Title

I was going to do a lovely little post updating you on #AllTheThings after I tweaked my home page for the holidays, and now it’s two and a half hours later, and I forgot what I was planning to write about. So this post is one hundred percent off-the-cuff.

I got a new printer, a LaserJet this time. With the Black Friday deal, it was cheaper than the current list price and also cheaper to buy a whole new printer than replacing ink cartridges for the old printer. (I know, tale as old as time.) This means I only have black and white printing now, but I never printed anything in color anyway. Jury’s still out on how good or bad the M110 is, but it printed the test page beautifully. Also, I’m ridiculously happy with how small this thing is. I mean, lookit! It’s not a complete eyesore.

I haven’t decided what to do with the old printer yet. I mean, it still works as a scanner. I’m just not sure if I need that functionality. The new one scans with an app and my phone’s camera, but I’ll be honest. That sounds like a pain.

So what necessitated my buying a printer? The sale of the house in Urbana. I’m going to need to sign more documents with actual (as opposed to digital) ink to grant power of attorney—unless I sign in person. And I want nothing less than to ride in a car for 5 hours round trip just to be present for closing. It’s too much. And the reason I know it’s too much? Mom and I wen to the old digs Friday to pick up a few things we accidentally left behind. It wrecked me to travel…just to sit in the car. I’m still in great gobs of pain and it’s Monday now.

Let’s see… I have all of my holiday shopping done, though not all of it has arrived yet. I ordered these boxes from Walmart. Thought they were kind of cute. I could color them in if I feel up to it. Or I could just be like, “Have fun coloring this!” if it doesn’t work out.

Anyway, I made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving that was so good I made another. I’ve also started making these chocolate caramel cookie bars. I’ve yet to get the melted chocolate on top, but the kind of great thing about the recipe is that I can do that whenever I feel well enough to tackle it.

Here’s the first pie I made. (The second one already has a slice missing, so I opted to forgo posting a picture of it.) I’ll tell you what the secret is: Libby’s pumpkin pie mix, room temperature eggs, and premade crust. I don’t like a lot of crust on my pumpkin pie. Your mileage may vary.

Aaaaaand just like that I’m done typing. Happy random Monday, y’all!

My New Primary Doctor

My New Primary Doctor

Let’s start with the big news: I have a new primary doctor. More importantly, I like her. Which, if you’ve been reading here a while, you know isn’t an insignificant thing. I was a little daunted thinking about this task just after we moved here, but I put what I’ve learned as a professional patient to good use in selecting a primary care physician (PCP).

Basically, there are four things I look at now when I’m hunting for a new doctor here in the US:

Screenshot Text: This doctor has been teaming up with insurance companies since at least 2009 to get super-rich insurance companies off the hook for paying cancer patients the disability benefits they deserve. It's pretty disturbing. Recommend researching him before you choose him to be your treating physician.

DO over MD: There’s just something more humane about the way I’ve been treated by DOs. I’m not saying that all MDs are terrible and myopic—far from it. But I’ve never been treated like crap by a DO yet. So I figure why mess with what works.

Woman: It has historically been helpful for me to receive care from women. I’m not saying that all male doctors are terrible either, but my experience has been telling. Percentage-wise? Dudes are way more likely to be arrogant jerks. And arrogance gets in the way of my getting good care. Arrogance literally traumatized me. Not letting that happen again if I can help it.

Insurance: I’m on Medicare due to disability, and not every doctor wants to deal with that. I always check before I schedule.

Ratings and Reviews: Most doctors these days have been rated by patients, either on Google or Healthgrades or, you know, somewhere. I read those reviews. All of them. (Coincidentally, I just received an email this morning telling me people found my review of Dr. Lee Hartner helpful. Suck an egg, Hartner. You absolute ass.

So yesterday’s encounter went really well because one of the things my new doctor said was something like, “I don’t know a whole lot about brain cancer.”

Music to my ears, kids. I immediately knew I was in the right place when she said that. Doctors who admit they don’t know everything are magical. Like unicorns. I told her that was good, and maybe we’d both learn something.

“Also,” I said, “I have, uh, some trauma from a doctor who thought he knew everything and I knew nothing. So my brain tumor was mis- or undiagnosed for a couple of years. I’m going to be a little anxious every time I’m here.” My voice got a little quivery and I could feel a few tears bubbling. I was tired and trying to stifle the medical PTSD episode that wanted desperately to be let out and recognized. I didn’t cry, but I came really close.

Anyway, I told her about my extreme sensitivity to meds, how doctors always want to prescribe me medicine by weight and it always ends badly for me and she said something like, “I get it. I’m the same way.”

So I found a new primary doctor in one try. That’s nothing short of amazing.

Putting on the Figurative Big Girl Panties

Putting on the Figurative Big Girl Panties

I’ve accomplished quite a bit for it being Monday. I got meds ordered for Boomer after a fat-finger typo on the online order form yesterday. Found a new primary care doctor and scheduled an appointment, and I got the ball rolling on getting an appointment with the oncologist my previous doctor recommended. And let me just say, there’s nothing I’d rather avoid than doctors and their associated appointments. (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m so tired of cancer.) So I definitely put on the big girl panties today.

I also thought a little about setting up a 2023 bullet journal-style calendar or doing a Zentangle video earlier, but I’m worn out. It’ll happen. Just not today. In the meantime, maybe I can decide whether I want to create something myself or just follow someone else’s YouTube tutorial. One is slightly more rewarding, the other is just easier.

We’re supposed to have weather in the 50s (F) this week. I don’t mind mild temperatures, but the constant back and forth takes a toll on me. It cranks up the pain a notch or two and, well… do. not. want.

Still, Thanksgiving Day will just be me, Dan, and Mom, and I’m looking forward to tucking into some mashed potatoes. I’m going to try my hand at making the pumpkin pie using our fancy new oven. I really wanted a wall oven because I can’t really bend over to put anything in—or get anything out of—a traditional oven without tipping over into the damn thing. Turns out Mom and my brother found a used one with a respectable price tag that is a smart oven—meaning I can preheat it via and app on my phone from the recliner. Um, yes please. So I’ll report back on how it all goes. It’s been a long time since I’ve used anything other than a microwave or air fryer to cook.

The sale of the house in Urbana is in the works, and what a relief! Dan and I will both miss that house, but it is honestly so much easier to move around in this house that was designed for my disability. I know people have given up a lot for me to be hear, and I just want y’all to know that I am seriously so happy to be able to move around and take a shower without feeling like I’m risking my life at every turn.

Speaking of the new digs, a couple of people were so kind, and sent me gifts from my Amazon wishlist. With my new robe, socks*, and sleep mask, I am feeling pretty fancy. Had a spa day with the foot spa thingamajig my friend gave me a while back, and my big toe is even on the mend.

I’m going to rest for a bit before heating up some leftovers for dinner. If I don’t blog again before Thursday, I hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving.

* I don’t use these for exercise either, but they stay in place and keep me from slipping on hard floors đŸ™‚

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