We arrive at our appt with the onc., just a routine check-up, post chemo cycle 3.
I knew I needed to clear the air with the onc. I had been very emotional at the last appt when we had got the results of the first scan since treatment began.
I was nervous, besides the initial appointment, I hadn't felt 'included' by the onc. even though I went to every appointment.
He concluded his check-up and asked Greg if he had any questions. Greg answered no, but then turned to me and asked if I had any for the onc. I took a deep breath, this was my opportunity, it felt like, speak now or forever hold your peace. I took another deep breath.
I turned to the onc. and said, "I am a person who needs to feel included, I need to know what I am dealing with so that I can get on and deal with it. Sugar-coating things does not help me. I know that you can't tell us 'exactly' when and what is going to happen,and that your prognosis is an 'educated guess' based on experience. It would be helpful if you can tell us, this is what I would expect to happen in 80% of cases, 5% may have this..., 5% may have this happen etc etc, I am not sure which of those categories Greg will fit in to, but they are the possiblities. Greg and I need time to process what is likely to happen next so that we have time to come to terms with it before we need to help our children cope with it.
I got upset at the last appointment because you were ready to let us walk out of your office thinking that we could tell our boys that daddy is getting better. When I questioned you, and only because I questioned you, you told us the results didn't change the likely time frame of 18 months at best. I feel that we need to work as a team and at the moment that is not happening".
I may have said it in a different order to how I have written it, but that is the basic content. I maintained eye contact and composure, did not get emotional (upset). The onc. on the other hand kept looking everywhere but at me.
When I finished I was blown away by what came next........
The onc. turned to Greg and simply said, "shall we go out and book the next appointment then?".
He did not acknowledge anything that I had said........was I invisible? had I just spoken?
I knew that I had not ASKED him a specific question, so there wasn't any answer that he needed to give........but........I expected at least, "thanks for sharing that with me, or, that is helpful to know, or..."I'll bear that in mind".......or, "I'll give that some thought",.......or, "I appreciate your honesty".
NOTHING..... not a word...... it was like I didn't exist.
I walked out of the office feeling totally deflated.
Driving home in the car, alone, I replayed the scenario over and over. Later that night, when the boys were in bed, I asked Greg whether I had been unreasonable/not concise. He answered that I hadn't asked a particular question, which I agreed, but also said, "He keeps his cards pretty close to his chest doesn't he?".
I said I wasn't expecting an 'answer' to a question, because I knew I hadn't asked one, but I WAS expecting some kind of ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.
I felt like it was a total waste of time to have gone to the appt.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.