Membership has its privileges

Surgeons performing operation in operation room

This week I was able to get in to see my surgeon at the McMaster Pain Clinic. I have been going there for epidural steroid injections in my back for two herniated disks. I had made an appointment to talk to the doctor about the neuropathy I’ve developed in my legs since my mastectomy. It has progressively gotten worse and the meds I’ve been taking don’t seem to be helping at least not yet. I met with the doctor and explained everything that has been happening. He knew what I had been through as I saw him before and several weeks after my surgery for injections. He told me that without a recent MRI it would be very difficult to pinpoint what is causing the nerve pain. I can’t have an MRI as there are metal ports inside my tissue expanders and as an MRI machine is a giant magnet, it would not be advised! My doctor pulled up my last MRI on his computer screen and looked at the report. I get injections to relieve two herniated disks L5 and S1 but apparently I have issues in some of the upper vertebrae also. This could be the route of my problem but again, he wasn’t sure. His advice was that the next time I come in for my injections, he would try injecting some nerve blockers in other areas of my spine to see if that helped. “My next appointment isn’t until the end of November”, I said. ” I will have chopped my legs off by then if I don’t get any relief.”

He looked at me, very concerned and said, “I apologize. I am really backed up as I had to take some personal time off. I recently lost my Dad to cancer.” There it was. That dreaded word that has managed to creep into my life and so many others. “I’m so sorry. Cancer really does suck”, I said, feeling very bad for his loss. He was visibly upset and my heart went out to him.

“I can’t even imagine what you are dealing with everyday”, he said. “It must be terrible.”

This shocked me actually. It’s the first time a doctor had actually acknowledged that dealing with this shitty disease and all its ramifications is hard! I looked at him and with a sincere smile on my face said ” You know you’re right. Cancer is brutal but I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t have to have chemo or radiation so every day I thank my lucky stars that I will be ok.” He nodded his head, smiled and said, “tell the receptionist to put your name on the waiting list. If there is a cancellation I will try to get you in sooner. The list is long but I’ll do my best.”

I left, gave my chart back to the receptionist and went home. I had just sat down to have a sandwich and my phone rang. It was the pain clinic. Someone had just cancelled and if I could get back there right away the doctor would take me! I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. I raced back and within 30 minutes was being ushered into the Operating Room for nerve blockers to be injected into my spine. The procedure is awful. The pain is very real, but all I could think of was how fortunate I was to get in to have this treatment. Was it luck, or was it because I too was dealing with cancer that I somehow got to the front of the line. Maybe it was simply the fact that I live only minutes away from the hospital and they knew I could get there quickly. Whatever the reason, I am hoping that the injections will help. It takes a few days to feel the effects so fingers crossed that I will see a noticeable improvement soon. I guess sometimes membership even in the cancer club has its benefits.



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President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.

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