Tag Archives: oncologist

Meeting the Oncologist

I continue to be fortunate in that every medical professional I’ve worked with (with a few minor exceptions) are warm, caring, knowledgeable, competent people. My oncologist is one of those. He could see how nervous I was, and one of the first things he did was to start at the beginning and have me tell him about what my cancer journey has been like.

I finished with “and so it was more than a little shocking to be told on Friday that I am a good candidate for chemotherapy.” He immediately said: “I’m not so sure about that. It’s one thing I want to talk with you about.”

It turns out that there is a test (Oncotype DX) that is for a specific population of women with breast cancer. This test provides a very specific answer to the question: does she have a high likelihood of breast cancer recurring (and therefore is a good candidate for chemotherapy)? In reading about it, it looked liked I was a perfect candidate (invasive, Stage I, ER+, lymph node negative). But it is very new (just out of clinical trials in 2007) and I wasn’t sure if my oncologist knew about it, and if I really was a good candidate.

He did, and he thinks I’m a ‘poster child’ for the test. Good thing: they (the lab that does this test is in Sunnyvale, Ca, I believe) examine the tissue already removed. I don’t have to do anything. We’ll get the results in a week or two.

IF I DO have chemotherapy, it would take about 3 months with chemo sessions 1x/3wks. The plan is that I would be in chemo for a day, recovering for a couple of days, and then working like normal for a few weeks. So, disruptive, but not horrid. And fairly brief.

I left that office feeling like I’d been given good news, and it was sort of appalling that I felt that way when really all I’d been told was that I’d be waiting for an answer again.

This is one of the cruelties of cancer, your definition of ‘normal’ becomes skewed. I wonder how long it will take for my definition to right itself?