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March 28, 2014

The last straw~


Why does this keep happening? This question weighs heavy on my mind and most likely, not for the reasons you may be thinking! July 2011, I learned of my aggressive breast cancer diagnosis; it has been nearly three years post diagnosis. The looming question, leaving me in a quandary; why do individuals – who know me fairly well, continue to ask questions about western “treatment recommendations” after I experienced a little health bump in the road, well a big health bump? I am not
alone in this quandary; my husband too is continually bombarded with questions. Admittedly, he gets the brunt of the questions; making it worse is the barrage of unsolicited “Has your wife tried such and such?” We are left wondering, what the hell is going on here!?!? Are we failing to thoroughly and clearly convey the direction of my treatment choices? Is it that individuals are hearing but not listening to what we are saying? Could it be that individuals around us are so unhinged by my treatment choices, when they see an opening for western medicine or a new snappy alternative treatment to be tried, they bring it up? Perhaps it has nothing to do with him or I; it is their fears that are emerging? We wonder if individuals believe they are being helpful or informative?

You know that old saying the straw that broke the camel’s back …it is like that. I am typically gracious when the topic of cancer treatments arise; I am able to shift a conversation quite easily or use my natural fallback, avoidance. My husband, he diplomatically powers through these irritating and emotion provoking encounters with others. Here is some real talk – It is too much, please stop. It is not helpful. In many situations, it is disrespectful. My husband and I are left feeling unsupported. More than anything, it is reminiscent of living in the shadows – not being seen, not having a voice. Stepping outside of my emotional mind and into my logical mind, there is an understanding that individuals are trying to connect, be helpful, and “fix” the unfixable. The other side is that the continued chemotherapy and radiation treatment questions along with unsolicited alternative treatment suggestions – are simply not wanted. There, I said it. That felt good.

The Straw, well that arrived today. The cancer surgeon called with the results from the tumor mass and lymph node pathology tonight, finally. The mass in my breast was deemed an invasive ductal carcinoma. The lymph node contained cancer cells. Then I learned that the surgeon took it upon himself and removed two additional lymph nodes that were “attached” to the affected lymph node. The removal of two additional lymph nodes, I did not authorize or consent too. I clearly outlined, in writing, the cancer surgeon was to only remove the enlarged lymph node that was viewed on ultrasound, the day prior to surgery. If I did not respect and trust this cancer surgeon, as I do, I would most likely be pursuing a formal complaint, at the very least. On a positive note, the additional two nodes he removed were “clear”. This does give me some sense of solace that the cancer did not take up residency in neighboring lymph nodes. Still reeling from the news that the surgeon removed two additional lymph nodes, without permission, I contacted a few friends to let them know I received my pathology results. What followed were several questions about what the doctor’s treatment recommendations were and/or the meaning of the pathology results. It was too much and it really hurt me – regardless of pathology, I am not following recommendations of western practitioners – in large part. My treatment is centered on the natural practices of Ayurveda – the ancient medical system of India.

Knowing those around me are concerned about my health and want the best for me, is deeply meaningful and touching. I know that all y’all love me – I can feel it! While I was in Texas, I met with my Ayurvedic Practitioner and have adjusted my treatment. The daily regiment I follow takes dedication, consistency, planning, and time; it is extensive. I have been back in Oregon for six days now, and have been adhering to my regiment (as available). I am recovering from surgery and getting stronger each day. The additional items needed to fully implement my adjusted treatment, have arrived – so here I go! I have another week to recover before I launch back into my graduate studies, completing the semester strong.

The highlight of my day was a visit from my mom. She brought the boys dinner along with some delicious goodies. We chatted for a few hours and covered a great deal of topics. It is beautiful that my mom is incredibly supportive of my treatment choices and decisions. She has never questioned why I am or am not engaging in any particular treatment. It feels good. 

I am grateful for all the support and love that surrounds me – even when I get frustrated or hurt by too many questions. I know I am loved by friends and family.

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Today, I am hopeful~ 

March 25, 2014

Frustration; the patient’s story

First, the surgical center incident:
Arriving at the surgical center, I make my way to the intake department to complete pre-surgery paperwork. The instructions are to sign your name and/or initials to concrete your agreement with each accompanying statement, on the lines an intake worker, at the medical facility, has graciously highlighted. As a southern woman would say – Now isn’t that sweet. Let it be known, I read each word appearing on every page. I cross out verbiage I am not in agreement with, clarifying statements to the pre-written verbiage, and typically leave several items absent my signature or initial; what resides in the cleverly highlighted space is a diagonal line, or what I refer to as the – Nope not this girl! 

After returning the completed paperwork, there begins to be a flurry of activity behind the intake counter – from nurses to supervisors. Occasionally there is a break in the conversation as confused and flustered individuals pass interesting glances and stares my direction. Often I will not prolong their agony – I will approach the counter and make an inquiry. This is how it went during a recent visit:

Me: I there something, I can help you with? *I brace myself for the response.
Intake: Um, ma’am, I noticed you did not sign this, pointing to one of the highlighted lines. The doctor ordered these labs, so you have to get them done.  
Me: The lab work was completed in Oregon and the results were forward to my Texas practitioner therefore I will not be taking part in another blood draw.
Intake: Ma’am, that doesn’t matter, it says here that you have to do it again.
Me: *no words, simply pregnant pause.
Intake: You know, I will ask my supervisor what to do.
Me: Sounds good.
Intake: umm, ma’am, you didn’t sign here where it says that you will get a chest x-ray or any additional labs, as the doctor feels necessary.
Me: That is correct. A chest x-ray was not discussed between the surgeon and me.
Intake: And the additional labs…
Me: Correct, I do not authorize additional labs without my written consent.
Intake: Well, let me get a nurse. When they explain why these things are needed you will understand better and sign the paperwork.
It continues to go on like this through the remainder of the paperwork.

I am finally escorted to the pre-operative bay where I am instructed to disrobe, keeping my panties on if so desired (I desired!), and to next put on the super awesome surgical frock. Side Bar: Can’t these facilities come-up with a, let’s say, more stylish print design for the frocks? I mean really, once you put on the plain frock, you instantly feel and look like a sick person. Then to add insult to injury, they bust out these horrific grey non-slip socks and instruct you to put those on too! I was like, What The What – Seriously?!?!

I am now resting nicely upon the gurney, dressed in my sickly attire – except for my cute panties, which no one else could appreciate, as I speak with the nurses, anesthesiology team, and surgeons; surgeons marking where they will cut and the others, discussing the procedures I will be undergoing. At one point, I noted that I am always given Promethazine for nausea, administered during surgery, and this is the only anti-nausea I wanted to receive. Several minutes later, a member of the anesthesiology team returns to inject some medication into my IV. I look at her and notice that she has a vile of Zofran readied to inject into my IV. I interrupted her and said, “Is that Zofran? It sure looks as though I am reading the word Zofran on the vile.” The woman went into this speech about Zofran, her colleague joined. I restated that the only anti-nausea medication I was authorizing was Promethazine – most certainly not Zofran. 

It was incredible that this team of individuals were prepared and willing to disregard, completely, what I had authorized them to put into my body. Talk about taking privilege with my body – who do they think they are?  

Then, there is the PET scan incident:
I was scheduled to undergo a PET scan this week. As I was reading over the information and process, I realized that my appointment was not for a PET scan but rather an Integrated PET-CT scan – NOT what I had agreed to. When contacting the oncology receptionist, she provided inaccurate information regarding what a PET-CT was – finally she offered to have a nurse contact me. When speaking with the nurse, I relayed that I did not agree to a PET-CT but rather a PET scan only. When asked why I did not want the PET-CT, I simply responded, it was a personal preference. Her response was something like, so you do not want to tell me your reason for not wanting the PET-CT? These folks could use training in basic empathy and/or reflective listening – I am offering to provide this service FREE of charge! So now, I wait to see IF the oncology group will refer me to get only a PET scan as originally requested. In truth, I really do not care, as I did not want to undergo the scan in the first place, additionally, it’s more money out of my family’s pockets!


To follow is a note to those within the oncology profession. 

Dear Oncology Medical Profession-

As a patient, I acknowledge your western medical training and your delightful ability to recite the standard of care for specific cancer diagnoses. Be mindful, this is my body, my choice –many within the oncology profession; seem to have forgotten this basic adult human right and freedom. Each treatment choice and decision is not being made lightly, but rather with the weighing of risk vs. harm, the pros and con’s based on independent research from many sources – including the information you provide. This is my life. I choose to make my own informed decisions, not because you told me too, but rather because I chose too. Western practitioners do not have all the answers – you are not a god. Each patient’s body is unique and different. Many patients will look to you for guidance and direction – many are scared, unable to make choices, trust your guidance, or do not know what else to do. Then there are patients like me – ready to research, willing to make difficult decisions, not detoured by the bullying, shaming, the threatened withholding of treatments, and fear mongering spewed by the oncology profession. Despite all the pushback from the oncology profession, I will continue to make the treatment choices that are right for me – my body, my choice.

I have supported many friends through their treatment choices that are much different from mine. I have watched several suffer greatly and lose their lives. I too have seen several continue living, despite emerging post-treatment illnesses and struggles that continue to cause suffering to one degree or another. As patients, we choose what is going to work best for us and what brings us peace – there is no right or wrong. It just is.

To clear-up any confusion regarding indulging in western medical treatments or lack thereof, trust and believe that I am not turning away from treatment – it is your western medical interventions that I do not seek, as my mainstay. I AM in treatment! I am not experimenting with any particular “cancer cure” of the moment. What I am doing is working to bring my body back into balance, on a cellular level. This approach is holistic, following the practices of Ayurveda – which has been around a heck of a lot longer than western medicine. While western medicine has a great deal to offer, it equally lacks. My daily routine, to remain healthy, takes dedication and is not a quick fix. When I hear individuals within your profession making comments such as – “you must be crazy to choose alternative treatments!” I respond by saying, “Natural treatments vs. toxic poising – that’s an easy choice for me.”

Repeatedly, I have created the space for those within your profession to cite standard of care along with recommendations; most usually, there too is an injection of judgment that jettisons in as well. Some days I sit and listen more patiently then others. Let me share what is missing – those within the oncology profession rarely create a space for the patient to cite thoughts, fears, and outline treatment choices that are met with a respectful and compassionate ear. When you become the patient, then you can decide how you will manage and treat your condition. Until that time comes, which I hope you will never have to experience, – you do not get to decide for me. This is my life. This is my body. Show respect.

Today, I am hopeful


Respectfully,

Seeking Balance 




       

Please consider donating money to support travel expenses, surgical procedures, and medical expenses: Capture Courage Fundraiser

March 22, 2014

Travels to Texas - It is always an adventure

What an interesting trip to Texas this has been. I speak often about going with the flow – just keep on moving; this theme reigns supreme, yet again. Let us begin with the delightful overnight flight. Curtis, Leslie, and I arrive at the airport and successfully navigated through security without a hitch; this is not always the case for me as I am an “opt-out” meaning I do not go through the body scanner machine. Rather I am the recipient of an up close and personal hands-on pat and slide security screen. “I am going to run my hand along your inner thigh until met with resistance,” states the airport security officer. That one always makes me laugh. As we look for our gate, we decide to grab a beverage and some chips and salsa. – The airport chips were double, perhaps triple flash fried and dripping with oil; we still ate them. Leslie and I dashed across the way to purchase a beverage and snack for the plane ride. In desperate need of some nasal spray, Leslie purchased a bottle of the coveted spray only to discover it cost over $10…she was none too pleased. We landed in Houston around 6:00am - the plane ride was uncomfortable, stuffy, and a dreaded overnight flight …no fun at all.

The first appointment of the day was with my cancer surgeon; it went as expected; he is very respectful, kind, and compassionate. I asked that the doctor take a second look at my swollen lymph node so that we could discuss the findings. I subsequently made the decision to have the lymph node removed in addition to the mass contained within my breast. Curtis, Leslie, and I next traveled to see my reconstructive surgeon. This appointment did not go as expected. Prior to traveling to Texas, I had several communications with the office of Dr. S to discuss the procedures he would be preforming; my interpretation was that everything was set and ready to go. Shortly after entering the exam room – it was clear this was not the case. Dr. S was refusing to perform any type of reconstructive surgery on the right breast and was only agreeable to preforming a minor augmentation to the left breast. When further inquiry was made into his gross deviation from the original plan, the doctor became defensive and threatened to not perform the surgery at all. Awe, this was a familiar spot…yet again, I was being required to create a space for an arrogant medical provider to feel validated appreciated, and as though they are the expert. I have to say it was quite nauseating at times. What made this visit amusing, in part, was the doctor’s attraction, complimentary comments, and divine infatuation with my left breast! He noted how the supple curvature was preferred. He encouraged me to enlarge the right breast (containing cancer) rather than reduce the left breast – “let’s just go bigger”, he said with a twinkle in his eye. When discussing symmetry, he noted how beautifully symmetric my breasts already were (more than most) and in a challenging tone, looked at Leslie and said, “Christina’s breasts are most likely more symmetric than yours – just look and see.” I was mildly disappointed Leslie did not take the doctor up on his challenge, producing her breasts! That would have been fantastically hilarious.

Surgery was a breeze and according to my support team – the doctors nearly fist bumped each other when recounting how well the surgery went. Let’s now discuss the dark-side of the surgery. The lymph node that was removed did contain cancer cells, the extent of which will not be known until early next week when pathology comes back. The surgeon expressed to my husband that there would need to be some tough decisions made, noting radiation is off the table because the cancer has moved beyond its origination site, meaning it has metastasized. My first thought was good; this is one less non-treatment treatment I would have to hear about from western doctors! It will be interesting to see what I am working with when pathology returns. My hope is that the cancer nugget in my breast was removed with clear margins and that the lymph node was simply inflamed.

Had a visit from a couple of my Texas kiddos. Carlos drove down from Austin for the day - it was great to see him. 

I am healing well, and ready to head home – Sunday morning to be exact. There is much more to tell, but will come at later time. 


                                                          Today, I am hopeful~


Please consider donating money to support travel expenses, surgical procedures, and medical expenses: Capture Courage Fundraiser

March 19, 2014

Surgery Update

Christina, Curtis and I (Leslie) arrived in Texas early Tuesday morning and settled in with our hosts, Christina's brother Sam, his wife Brandi and their four kids. They have been very hospitable and the conversations have been lively.

After a nap (to recover a bit of lost sleep from the red-eye flight) we went with Christina on Tuesday afternoon to meet with her general surgeon and the reconstructive surgeon for the standard pre-op consultations and to finalize details of the surgeries. She is an excellent self-advocate and consistently and calmly maintains a positive rapport with the medical professionals.

On Wednesday morning we headed over to the Houston Yoga Ayurvedic Wellness Center where she met with Sharon for Ayurvedic massage (I cannot remember, nor can I accurately spell the treatment, so I will leave that clarification to Christina later!). Sharon is a very wise, calm, knowledgeable and loving individual and Ayurvedic practitioner. Curtis, Christina and I had such interesting conversation and a time of relaxation and tea with her.

We then went over to the hospital and Christina was taken back for surgery (I will let her disclose the specifics of the surgeries later, if she wishes to do so). We got to see her just before surgery where Christina declared the grey skid-proof hospital socks despicably unattractive (any of you that know Christina can imagine the scene and conversation over that!). We waited during the surgery which went smoothly with both surgeons feeling positive about the procedures. It sounds like recovery will be smooth and less painful than initially anticipated.

I feel privileged to be here with Christina and Curtis and I'm consistently blown away by Christina during this entire journey through cancer. I admire her steadfastness and courage in facing the numerous obstacles and challenges in carefully choosing her own unique path toward overcoming this disease. 

Thanks to all of you for your peaceful, healing, accepting, loving and compassionate prayers and thoughtsWe will update again soon.

Today, I am hopeful ~

March 17, 2014

George Fox University Support System

           *I am filled with gratitude*

 


Pictured in this photo are several of my George Fox University Graduate School of Counseling classmates. Many classmates showed their support by wearing pink in some form of fashion. I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by individuals who love me and believe I will find balance and overcome this disease!



Please consider donating money to support travel expenses, surgical procedures, and medical expenses: Capture Courage Fundraiser



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                                                                                                           Today, I am hopeful.

March 16, 2014

Tribute Tattoo & Updates

My husband surprised me last week with this amazing tribute tattoo; he placed it on his chest over his heart. (Curtis'first tattoo) The symbol represents running and the positive impact it has had in his life. The words, are the same that adorn the Christina's Real Talk t-shirts - my son Cole and I created the saying in 2011.



All updates regarding my surgery and post-surgery events will be posted on my blog by Curtis, Leslie (a friend), or myself - when possible. 



I invite everyone to call upon their higher-power, the divine, to send peaceful, healing, accepting, loving, and compassionate prayers and thoughts to my family, friends, cancer & reconstructive surgeons, and to myself. 

May the miracle of healing touch body

Please consider donating money to support travel expenses, surgical procedures, and medical expenses: Capture Courage Fundraiser




Today, I am hopeful~

March 15, 2014

A day in the life of…

Tuesday embodied numerous emotions, experiences, and reflections, leading to clarity that revealed itself with profound clearness. The day flowed with tears, laughter, friendship, forgiveness, cleansing tears, self-compassion, a punch to the face, pounding blows, awareness, trust, connection, and ended with peace.

How freeing it is, to speak my truth without reservation, to choose to be vulnerable. I sit upon my sofa. I hear the sounds of Tibetan singing bowls, the vibrations calming my soul. The sun shines bright in the cool fresh air. The breeze dances through my hair; I breathe in the fresh spring air – awe, I am grounded, connected, at peace. I gaze into the empathic eyes of my attuned friend Mollie. I laugh. I cry. I do so without hesitation – it is safe, absent of judgment. The timing is perfection – I learned my tumor marker numbers have increased over the past six weeks, one nearly doubling. I am not surprised…yet I am. It is unsettling to see tumor marker numbers rise. I allow my emotions to come forward, move through me, and to share these once tightly held thoughts and emotions. I process my choices, landing on – Am I going to trust that I will intuitively make the right decision for myself.

As I drive, I am meditating as I listen to healing sounds. The word forgiveness gently enters my thoughts. Traditionally I am quite rebuffed by the word “forgiveness” as my experience reveals it is an over and miss used word. Yet in this moment, I embrace the word… Forgiveness – I have an awareness; the way one finds healing is through forgiveness. Over the next hour, I am taken to a still place of peace as I offer forgiveness to individuals whose words or actions have wounded, hurt, cheated, or silenced me. I first speak forgiveness; I then release them from my judgment and expectation as I accept and love them as they are. I speak forgiveness to myself – for falling short; I then release myself from judgment and expectation. I accept myself, as I am, perfectly imperfect. I am lead to speak my desires into the universe, to the divine, to my higher power. I ask that I find healing, from all disease within my body, now, in this lifetime. Asking to continue my current journey of understanding, compassion, acceptance, as I allow my light to shine bright – bringing connection and hope to all I encounter. I speak, if there is another way to learn this lesson, I am open and willing. At the conclusion, I am peaceful.

The sun shines brightly on this spring day as I walk along the riverfront with a client; I am initially met with cooperation then a physical expression of inner emotions. I felt a closed fist make contact with my face, the blow is striking and unexpected. I am stunned. I immediately assume the protective blocking position, and experience multiple blows to my forearm and legs. I am aware that time seems to slow – yet I too am struck by response to the attack. I did not instinctively fight back, something I often wondered about. Rather, I assumed the blocking position. As each blow made contact with my forearm, my self-talk was saying – see you knew what to do and instinctively acted – trust yourself, you know what to do. Following the events, I walked back to my car – my head was throbbing. I was not sure what I was going to see when I looked in the mirror. Amazingly, the physical pain did not match my appearance; aloud I remarked, “Well isn’t that interesting!” I smiled. I called my husband to let him know what happened and he offered to come pick me up. I gently reminded him that I had school and needed to get going. I hear him nervously laugh followed by “after all that you are going to go to school?” My response was, of course I am going to school. He then said, “Okay babe. Enjoy your class. Love you!” Off to class I drove.

As I drove, I was recounting the events of the day. I kept thinking that surely there would be a point at which I would breakdown crying…you know, lose it! After all, I discovered my tumor markers were elevated, had an emotional conversation about the cancer returning and the decisions needing attention, the cathartic forgiveness exercise, and the physical attack. I was not breaking down. I felt as though my equilibrium was off a bit – which makes sense considering my “bell was just rang!” I was not angry. I was not tearful. I was simply roll’n with it. I laughed, recounted how my positive self-talk was occurring as blows were being delivered. After all, it was “just another day in the life of …me”

In class, the lecture was about spirituality. As the end of class approached, the professor concluded his lecture – the PowerPoint slide, noting the next talking point, appeared on the screen: FORGIVENESS. I smiled – of course; the word forgiveness appears on the screen. As I drove home, I continued to reflect on the events that occurred. As I let out an extended exhale, I exclaimed out-loud, “oh my gosh, that’s it! Earlier in the day, I was struggling to trust myself to make treatment choices. This was followed by yet another situation, that I had questioned for years – if I were to be attacked by a client, would I instinctively fight back or would I respond with what I know and was trained to do…block the blows. Trust. It was about trusting myself. When faced with a situation, in which a decision must be made, trust that I will respond accordingly. “The Attack”, was symbolic – with a literal smack upside the head – Yes, Christina, trust yourself. You know exactly what to do! Awe…yes, I do know what to do.

Tuesday was a powerful and impacting day; it was actually quite amazing! I am embracing each experience with open arms and a positive outlook.

Today, I am hopeful.

Please consider donating money to support travel expenses, surgical procedures, and medical expenses: Capture Courage Fundraiser

March 2, 2014

Flexibility Required

I am at a bit of a loss of where to begin – the past 30 days have been an interesting mix of shifting emotions along with interesting, enjoyable, and unbelievable experiences that bring me to today, March 2, 2014.

Please consider donating money to support travel expenses, surgical procedures, and medical expenses: Capture Courage Fundraiser

February is forever a favorite month; I celebrate my birthday, anniversary, and Valentine’s Day. Image my surprise when I was brought back to reality when Curtis announced I would be turning 43, not 33! For some reason I had it in my mind I was fix’n to be 33 … the idea of being in my 40s evoked a crinkled nose followed by a gasp. Mother Nature provided a beautiful blanket of deep white snow to the Willamette Valley, something that does not happen often; we were literally snowed in for several days. The next February event was Valentine’s Day and my 10-year anniversary – both occurring on February 14. My birthday/anniversary gift was my first tattoo. Never fancied myself a tattoo kind of gal … I have to say, I love the tattoo! Many have asked what the meaning of the tattoo is – let me share.

The Om symbol: This represents the all-encompassing cosmic vibration of the universe. Om is at the beginning and ending of many sacred texts. Om represents the states of consciousness and connects us to the divine.

The Elephant/Ganesha: Signifies wisdom, patience, is the remover of obstacles, discernment, loyalty, strength, and intelligence.



There seems to be a theme that continues to occur with repetition as of late; just when I think I have a concrete plan together, a barrier presents causing me to quickly shift. Being mindful that there clearly is a lesson to be learned that I must be overlooking, I REALLY want to grasp this lesson! A couple examples of this are to follow.

Meeting with Oregon reconstruction surgeon – the appointment started-off fairly normal and then slid sideways! In the exam room was a female intern, the surgeon, and me. As the surgeon conducted the breast exam, in a rather aggressive manner, he began challenging my treatment choices. He went as far as stating that I was providing myself diminished healthcare interventions. I responded by saying something like, that is interesting, I have never had a physician provide feedback of that nature before. The surgeon was shocked and responded “really?” My response – “I don’t think most would be that brazen!” I could feel my anxiety well up within my body, I took a deep breath, as I reminded him of his position on my team was that of a reconstructive surgeon – not a secondary oncologist. Later in the appointment, I exclaimed, in a “jokester” way, that I needed to ask some basic questions – such as how long have you been preforming reconstructive breast surgeries. He outlined his qualifications in the most complex and medically academic manner. I indulged him, although I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. When he finished, I leaned forward and lowered my voice as I asked if the undertaking of the second fellowship he had outlined, was a “suggestion from his professor”; in intern exhaled with laughter! The doctor went on to explain further that is truly was HIS desire to participate in a second fellowship. You really had to be there to capture the levity of it all. Despite his narcissistic nature, I went ahead and scheduled to have him be my reconstructive surgeon – there are only two in Corvallis. For the next 5-7 days, my breasts felt like they had been through a meat grinder! Yes, even my “good one”. Thinking it may be warranted to send him bill for damaging the merchandise.

In the days following the aggressive manhandling of my breasts, I noticed that there was swelling occurring in the armpit where there is a lymph node suspected of being infiltrated with cancer cells. The swelling concerned me. I was already grappling with the decision to remove the lymph node or to keep it. I scheduled an appointment to see my nurse practitioner oncologist; she was able to palpate the swollen node. During the appointment she let me know that I would have to establish with a new oncologist because my beloved Dr. Kenyon had really retired and my “treatment plan had changed” due to the re-occurrence of cancer. My response, “that is fucking annoying, I have never had a treatment plan, I am doing my own thing!” She advised me that my case will be discussed at the Tumor Board and they will create a recommended treatment plan for me …I rolled my eyes “you know that time would be better spent discussing a case that was actually going to use your western jazz.” My nurse practitioner is kind, listens, and shoots it strait in a respectful manner; this is why I like her. After leaving her office, I started to process the medical events and the response I was getting from the western medical community in regards to my treatment choices. I needed to change the way I was presenting my choices – it was different now because the cancer was back and this was making the doctors very nervous. My responses were raising red flags in their western medicine brains and thus creating barriers in accessing the interventions I desired. I was able to ground myself and refocus my responses – they do not have to agree with what I am doing. What needs to happen is for me to allow the doctors the space to deliver their informed consent and fulfill their verbal medical oath duties.

It was my understanding that I would not have to meet with the new MD until after surgery – I was wrong. The next morning, I received a voice message requesting I come in to meet the MD oncologist on that day at 1:00. My first thought … nope, I am so not doing that right now. Aware of my avoidant attachment style, I made a different choice. I contacted my friend to ask if she could go with me to the appointment, she agreed. Good thing I had grounded myself and prepared emotionally and psychologically; this woman, Vicki Lee, is a piece of work! Some of her delightful gems included:

We all can agree that you made the wrong decision in 2011 because the cancer has returned; she stated this no less than 4 times throughout the visit. You are too overwhelmed and emotional; you need your family to make the right treatment decision for you this time. We may not even do surgery if you do not let us remove the mass and the lymph node – it is all cancer, we need to take out all the cancer that we can see, otherwise there is no point.

Yep, it really happened! My friend remained silent during the visit and let me handle this Gem called Dr. Vicki Lee. This woman did not listen. She attempted to miss quote me in her notes. Awe, at one point she stated that she had a question for me – what followed was a harsh judgment. I interrupted her, “what I just heard was a judgment; you said that you had a question for me…what is the question?” She never did ask a question. I said very little during the appointment; remember I had already prepared myself otherwise I might have gone ham on the doctor. Conversely, my friend, well – she was fit to be tied!!! Clearly it was time to reassess my treatment team. 

I have decided to cancel the surgical procedures in Oregon and head back to my trusted doctors in Texas. My surgery is scheduled to take place this month. My husband and medically savvy friend Leslie will travel to Texas with me for my surgeries. I am finally at peace with my procedures and choices.

Please consider donating money to support travel expenses, surgical procedures, and medical expenses: Capture Courage Fundraiser

T-Shirts Available for Purchase
Contact Christina to purchase a T-shirt: christinasrealtalk@gmail.com

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         $20.00                       $15.00
*Pink ladies cut
runs small                               

Thank you for your support! 


Today I am hopeful~