Monday, February 23, 2009

This is 'update the oncologist day'

I have decided a doctor appointment isn't a check up as much as keeping the doctor updated. Today I have a follow up with my oncologist. What has happened in the meantime since we last met? Fun and games with a mammogram last fall, back pain, hair regrowth and I have more questions for him.

In the business world, it is important to learn to 'manage up'. Don't let your boss set the expectations about you. You set your boss's expectations by doing what you are supposed to do correctly and keeping them informed. But also, by showing your willingness to take responsibility for and take charge over what you do, you can earn their respect of your credibility.

In the medical world, you have a primary care physician, and then if you are lucky like me, you also have a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist, a surgeon, a back specialist, and physical therapist, not to mention a dentist, periodontist, and ophthalmologist. What is the lowest common denominator here? That would be me. I am the one who needs to make sure they are all informed about all my latest fun and games. I need to manage them.

Today I need to bring my oncologist up to date on everything. This means bring my lists and ask my questions and see what he has to say. I am also preparing a script for him to follow (I think if I keep trying this route, the doctors will learn their scripts sooner or later). This script basically goes along the lines of 'there is nothing to worry about, you are (basically) normal, and come back in six months or a year'. However, I have a feeling this could be more along the lines of 'lets run some tests, see you in three or four months'.

In the meantime, I was reading something interesting in the paper this morning. Medicine is no longer 'one size fits all' which is a very good thing. For example, men and women respond differently to different treatment plans. However this can go too far particularly in cases of standardized care, such as the example cited in the UK where a cancer drug was denied to patients as the government office had deemed it too expensive. Government agencies should not make medical decisions. That is my rant for this morning.

In the meantime, yesterday we started with some sunshine and ended up with a rainstorm, that turned to snow and froze solid. We now have a new glacier in the driveway. I am a weenie so I will ignore the glacier and drive over it to the gym because it is 23 degrees out and the wind is about 25-30 mph so the wind chill is sub zero. Then I will spend quality time at the doctor office - I get a blood test and then sit around for an hour before seeing the doctor. Then I get to go to work. Yes, I did my exercises twice yesterday and also this morning. My back only hurts moderately and I will go to the gym. How exciting is that?

Actually, we did have some excitement yesterday. We live behind some small apartment buildings and down the street from an assisted living facility. There are often fire trucks and ambulances around because of the assisted living. Yesterday I heard some fire trucks while I was working and basically ignored them until I heard some breaking glass. The fire trucks were because of the apartment buildings and the breaking glass were the firemen kicking in the back door of the building because it was on fire. Since we live near the town line, there were fire trucks from both towns. There was some significant smoke and then a repair truck was there for a while in the afternoon. I said to Walter 'the building next door is on fire'. He goes over to the window and says 'why yes it is'. And went back to his computer. I think the cat slept through the entire episode. So much for excitement.

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