Comedic Chops

Posted: September 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

I’m not quite totally back to my cancer Samurai, Rocky Balboa, tip-top shape again, yet. But I’m getting closer each day. It wasn’t until I shared a story about a calculating comedic bit I pulled on the Radiation Oncologist to a friend over lunch yesterday, that I realized I was getting back into ‘cancer fighting form’ shape again.
    First, I’d like to send a shout out to the American Cancer Society and John. Since my car hasn’t been working for a few weeks now, last Friday a very nice volunteer gave me a ride to my Radiation Oncology consultation. My driver, John, is a volunteer in the American Cancer Society’s “Ride to Recovery” program. In his New Yorker accent, he said giving me a ride to my appointment was “no big deal, figure give back when ya can, ya know?” Yeah, he was chewing gum and shrugged his shoulders when he said that too.
After the nurse first thing weighed me, “Oh sure, humiliate me right off the bat why don’t you,” she laughed. She went to set that bar on the 155 mark, I told her she needed to go to the 200 mark. She went to the 200 mark, flipped the top little bar all over the place, no reading. She set the lower bar back down to 155 and then futzed with the top bar … I’ve lost weight! She told me to subtract a few more pounds, as that scale tended to run a few pounds heavy. I looked at her and said, “I love you! I love you!”

    Of course, my stupid blood pressure and pulse are still up there. But hey, I lost some weight!
    There was a little bit of a communication glitch at first with the Radiation Oncologist (RO) doctor . He was probably in his late 30’s, early 40’s with a casual professional approach. I’m not sure if the first part of our visit went slightly askew due to his not being used to having patients be their own strongly voiced advocates, or, if it was due to his still thinking because he’s a doctor he’s the end-all in say so … but here’s how this chunk of the story went.
    The RO proceeded to list all the cancer treatment options that were available to me. He then touched upon the one option of removing the DCIS clumps in my breast and then just sitting back and keeping a close eye via mammograms and MRIs on my overall breast health. I informed him that this was not an option for me. In an “I’m the expert” tone he asked me, “And why not?” I told him that Dr. W had clearly stated it wasn’t a viable option for me.
    Again, in the same tone, the RO asked me, “And why not?” I simply stated, “Because Dr. W feels that even though my BRACA tests came back negative, there’s something to my family history. You have read my family history sheet I provided you with, didn’t you?”
    He fumbled with the papers a little, found it. I’m not sure if the next thing he said was meant in the tone that it came off as sounding, slightly defensive and/or cavalier … “If you’re that concerned about your family health then why not just do a bilateral mastectomy?”
    I have been mulling the idea around in my head for a while now. But, it hasn’t really been said out loud, other than when speaking with Dr. W, in connection with my BRACA test outcome, by another medical professional before this moment. His tone slightly awakened my feisty spirit.
    If this RO expected me to back down any, due to his prior authoritative tone — pth, wrong gal. I calmly proceeded to tell him that I had already been mulling over having the bilateral done. I really didn’t want to have to “go through all this stress crap and medical procedure junk all over again, come maybe 2+ years down the road with the left breast, if it should choose to act up too.” I continued, “Give me a new even set of tatas and let’s move on down the road of life.”
    He cleared his throat and smiled a little. Then he pulled out a form that helped him ‘grade’ how eligible someone was, via a point system, for radiation therapy. He started ‘grading’ me via my type of cancer, margin markers for the cancer, etc., I told him, “I feel like I’m on that stupid show “Dancing With The Stars” — are you gonna hold up a paddle with the next grade number?” He politely laughed.
    Then he got to the category of age, he said, “we give a certain rating for 40+ and then a different score for being an old lady.” He wrote down a number on the form. I felt it rising up within me, the complete comedic come back, in an instant the perfect plan flashed in my brain. I sat back for a few seconds, like a Cobra patiently waiting for the perfect strike.
   The RO started to mumble on with his form stuff and assigning me numbers. I pushed my stool back with one foot, crossed my arms, and with a perfectly straight face I said, “So, you’re rating me as an old lady?”
    When he first looked up at me, he looked interrupted and then when he saw my serious face he looked shocked. He started to stammered a little and said, “Uh, uh, no, no!” Still with a perfectly straight face I said, “It’s not bad enough I’ve got breast cancer, but now you’re rating me as being an old lady too?”
    He literally started to pushed his stool back away from me with one foot, looking like he’d got caught in a no-win trap, he was in serious ‘back-peddle’ mode. I paused for a few seconds more, still with a serious look on my face. When I finally had him looking at me eye-to-eye, I grinned an evil grin and said, “I just love watching people back peddle. By the way, you do it quite well.” Then I winked, “I’m just mess’n with ya doc. I’ve got cancer, it kinda gives me impunity.”
    To say the least he had a mixed look of relief and slight dismay on his face as he apologetically pointed out that “old lady” started at 60+.
    After a frank discussion with him, as to what my normal is for a days worth of stamina and what my immune system baseline is like, he clearly, and kindly, stated that I was not a good candidate for radiation therapy. I told him that I pretty much knew that before I walked in there — but, since Dr. W had asked me to specifically see him, that I purposely had arrived with an open mind and would listen to his expertise and opinion upon reviewing my “old lady” case.
    I’m still not sure if he smiled and shook my when I left because he was happy to see me go — or, if because he might have learned a lesson, via humor, that you can get zinged back when you use the rubber stamp of “’cause I’m the doctor” attitude.
     Yeah, I’m getting my feisty chops back, my cancer comedic chops. Soon it’ll be time to start playing the theme to “Rocky” and start donning my Samurai warrior regalia for this next big battle coming up … the big M word, mastectomy.
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