Tuesday, 1 March 2011

"a member of his team" .... again

My consultant appointment was with one of the "member of his team" variety (the same one as last time). This time he got the full works. I asked all the questions that still required an answer and he actually had to read my notes in some depth before we let him off the hook.

Contrary to what is written on the Macmillan-originated Pemetrexed and Cisplatin information sheet given to me by the hospital before the start of my treatment, that normally six cycles are given, I learned I am to receive four so tomorrow is the last one - whoopee! I think that's rather good news. I've just researched and found that four is the standard in the UK so why the document I have says six I don't know.

The Macmillan nurse sat during the consultation in a pose that I can only describe, reading her body language, as "embarrassed". I too would have been embarrassed if I had been asked to witness a consultant demonstrating that he had read very few of the patient's notes.

I was trying to find out what the situation was with my thyroid. "A member of his team" looked slightly puzzled by the question. He shouldn't have done - I asked him the same question last time. Do I have thyroid cancer too as the lead oncologist led me to think was possible? He looked back in the file and eventually found the biopsy notes and told me that it was negative.

"Not so," I corrected, "it was inconclusive - you people don't give the all clear you settle for inconclusion," or words to that effect.

I couldn't help feeling he was trying to fob me off on the basis that someone with my lung condition was on too sticky a wicket to bother about my thyroid. The fact that I'm going to beat this is probably not on his agenda.For goodness sake, the multitude of lung biopsies were "inconclusive" but that didn't put me in the clear for lung cancer! He then confirmed what I had drawn from the highly technical copy letters to my GP, that the lung cancer was only confirmed by the tissue in the lymph node.

We went on to discuss why the radiographer was so insistent that he had to scan the thyroid and why that might have been. "If there had been anything untoward visible they would have said," came the reply, "but we'll ask them to clarify." I wonder if they will. "What discipline covers the thyroid?" I ask. "ENT" That maybe explains a lot. I was with the ENT guy this time last year. He looked at my voice box and gave me the all clear referring me to the speech therapist if you recall (apologies if I'm now repeating myself). Obviously thyroid cancer wasn't on his agenda either. It was agreed that at the CT scan that I will have two weeks after this next dose there will be a specific instruction to look at the thyroid. (Wasn't that what happened last time?!)

My next consultant appointment is in three weeks time and is headed "radiotherapy". That means there's a lot more different chapters to read up on and study so that, dear readers, I can inform you as accurately as possible.

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