A second opinion

Today is second opinion day. Not that I’ve had a full first opinion yet: despite the fact that the hospital is aware of my pregnancy and that I may need to take some hard decisions sooner rather than later they seem incapable of speeding things up. Having been told I could probably get some interim results from my surgery and lymph node biopsy at the end of last week, no histopathology appeared to have been done at all when I called. I was distraught.

It seems to me that the hospital regards my pregnancy as a huge inconvenience – it simply doesn’t fit into their way of seeing/doing/treating things. But surely this can’t be the first time they’ve encountered a pregnant women with breast cancer (they are a specialist BC unit after all)? I know it’s rare but it’s not unheard of – in fact I’ve seen some stats that suggest BC occurs in one in every 3,000 pregnancies (though that seems a bit high to me).

Anyway, thanks to my wonderful GP I have an appointment later today with an extremely well-regarded consultant at another hospital. If all goes well, I shall transfer my treatment to Hospital B. It may sound melodramatic, but frankly I don’t feel particularly safe at Hospital A – I’ve lost all confidence in them at any rate.

It feels like it’s been a battle from the start, and I don’t have the energy for it. I could rant for hours but there’s no point. (I’ve also complained but that doesn’t seem to have done much good either.)

Suffice it to say that things like the ward sister assuming I’d come in for ear, nose and throat surgery rather than breast cancer surgery, and one of the nurses looking like a frightened rabbit when I told her I was pregnant (“And you’re having a general anaesthetic?! No one told us!”), have not helped.

There was also an incident where, an hour after I’d received my initial diagnosis and was sitting in the waiting room I was approached by a doctor who leaned over, thrust a piece of paper into my hand and mumbled something that seemed to finish with the words “…in the event of your death – God forbid – you can help others.” It appeared she was trying to recruit me for a clinical study. When I complained about her inappropriate and insensitive approach she maintained that she had said “blood clot”, not “death”. Maybe so, but if she’d bothered to sit down and explain things properly, or even better done it in a different place and at a different time, the situation wouldn’t have arisen in the first place.

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