Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Beginnings - I'm not Having ANY Symptoms

As the days moved on and the reality of everything continued to sink in, I was suddenly hit with a revelation. As I said yet again, "remember that statistics mean nothing because I'm not having symptoms," something dawned on me. "Amy, you are NOT having symptoms." This thought hit me over the side of the head like a baseball bat and got my wheels to spinning.

Ok, so the doctor says he believes I've got this grade one glioma. He wants to do a biopsy. Then we are going to employ a "watch and wait" by routine MRIs. Why do we have to do it in this order? Why should we go in and take the chances of causing problems, if all we are going to do is watch it? Can't we just watch it now and only do the biopsy if something starts looking suspicious? My mind had been suddenly filled with many questions wondering why we were taking our suggested approach.

Then I had the sudden realization that the most likely reason is CYA. Cover Your Behind (substitute word). He wanted the biopsy in case he was wrong. There was really no other logical reason than to make sure that if he was wrong he couldn't be sued. I don't like surgery. I don't like general anesthesia. I don't like the thought of trying to do this with local anesthesia. I don't like the thought of a hole in my head. Most importantly, I don't like tests that are not deemed necessary in my eyes.

So I broached the subject with my husband. This resulted in a fight. He thought we should listen to him. He thought we should proceed just so we know. I disagreed but was willing to listen. At the end of the night, he had not come up with an argument that was convincing enough to change my mind but I agreed to call the doctor and ask some questions. What were my questions? What are the chances of the biopsy causing problems and thus giving me symptoms that I don't currently have? You've said it is virtually inoperable so what would the treatment plan be? Finally, what would be our game plan if I choose not to have the biopsy at this time?

It took a few days for the doctor to get back to me, but that was the time I needed. I talked with friends and co-workers who had more experience in dealing with medical incidents than I did and many agreed with me. Why have it now? Even John began to see my point and understand why I wasn't ready for this if there wasn't a just cause. I had my husband behind me now, it didn't really matter what the doctor's answers were, my decision was more or less made up.

So I heard back from the doctor. There is very little chance of causing problems with the biopsy, the treatment options would include radiation of it is not what we suspect, and we will do MRIs at 6 weeks, again at 6 weeks, then weigh out a plan if I go against the biopsy. These answers sealed the deal. Any chance of problems is too much for me to take the risk without a strong reason, radiation is not an option unless I am having symptoms, and that game plan sounds just fine to me.

After a week of difficult thinking, I had made up my mind to go against the doctor's advice. As several would later tell me, "I'm glad to see it because it's those not afraid to second guess and ask questions, that survive." And we all know that I'm going to survive. :)

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