I have to get this off my chest in a ‘safe’ forum as I was virtually sworn to secrecy until my oncologist has spoken to more patients but the b****r is leaving!! I took it with my usual equanimity, asked a few pertinent questions but the child in me is getting increasingly vocal in my head and I feel like I felt in primary school when my favourite teacher said she was leaving - betrayed and abandoned by someone I thought cared.
I took advantage of one fact that I was sure of when I got my diagnosis - Stage 4 patients are entitled to be treated by the oncologist of their choice for continuity of care - and I didn’t hesitate to insist that Dr X was my choice. I made it clear to him too so, if he notices my file on the wrong pile, he moves it. He is the only full-time breast cancer specialist, he is very interested in all the latest research and he’s proactive with regard to my MTNBC. He’s taken a personal interest from the start and has been honest with me about the confusion my cancer in causing - that the hospital hasn’t had a case like it while he’s been there (and it’s a huge regional centre).
The most important thing though is that he gets me. I’m an incredibly complex person riddled with anxieties and phobias and he has not once questioned me when I’ve said no, I can’t do that or I’m going to find that difficult - can you prescribe something (ie lorazepam) so I can get through it. He always takes this into account in any decisions he makes. He’s gentle, kind and considerate and he always makes my husband part of the process, including my husband’s complex emotions. If he needs to give us 40 minutes instead of 20, he does without a thought.
I know there will be other equally good oncologists. He’s not irreplaceable. The head of the team is great. There is only one I would emphatically not wish to work with. But I feel so sad that I’m losing this one advantage I thought I had in my treatment - someone who understood the person behind the cancer and who knows the two can’t be separated.
Ok, that’s off my chest. Thanks.