How many doctors do you really need?

Well, at this point, I say “as many as you can get, you can never have enough”!

I have been blogging a lot about my experiences with the medical system lately and that’s because it can be quite frustrating and blogging is my therapy…

So on top of the cancer stuff, I have been having increasing pain in my lower back and leg. The pain started back in December of last year when I was dealing with the gallbladder pain. It progressively got worse to the point where my sciatica had been hurting all the way down to my foot. There wasn’t any comfortable position, either standing, sitting or lying down. I have seen acupuncturists, chiropractors, and physical therapists with not much improvements. Everyone had been urging me to get a MRI. I have been resisting it as I am tired of getting scans. I kept thinking that I could find a “more natural” way to treat the cause of the pain and that I would eventually feel better. I also wanted to wait for my CT scan to rule out any spread of the cancer to my bones. That’s life with Stage 4 cancer, you always have to worry about things like that. So after my CT scan in July, we knew that my bones were clear and the results pointed to a herniated disc in the lower back. The pain got so bad that I finally agreed to see a back specialist and try a nerve block. As I couldn’t get an appointment until September, I researched physical therapists and decided to seek one out that was specialized in the “Mackenzie” method. I met with him a couple of times, he was very good and I felt hopeful that he could help. The only thing though is that I have had disc issues in the past and have ben feeling that there was something different with the pain. Instead of getting relief from the exercises he was giving me, the pain felt worse. Unrelated to this pain, I have reconnected with the interventional radiologist who had done my liver biopsy when I was first diagnosed. He had left me his cell phone number and I decided to text him a few months ago for a second opinion (or shall I say a 3rd or 4th one!). He was super kind and reviewed my CT scan from July and he is the one who had suggested microwave ablation if there was only a couple of spots on my liver. I dropped off the disc of my last PET scan and had an appointment with him this past week. When I heard from the Shands team that the ablation would not be an option because there were too many spots, I almost cancelled my appointment with him thinking I would see him in 3 months after I get rescanned. Somehow, I decided to keep my appointment, what’s one more? I have met my out-of-pocket for the year so I have no copays til the end of the year, might as well take advantage of it haha! So he agreed with my Shands team and took the time to show me the images on his computer, explaining what was what. He counted 7 spots on the liver (my oncologist at Shands said he had seen 4 but he is not a radiologist so I give him a pass!). As Dr. D was scrolling down the scan, he showed me a pretty significant cyst on my right ovary and looking at it, it was clearly pressing on my sciatic nerve!!!! So just like that, by chance, we identified the source of the pain I have been having for months! I am so glad I have not yet seen a back specialist to get a nerve block when chances are it wouldn’t have done anything. Dr. D. told me he could drain the cyst with the understanding that it could come back. I agreed on the spot, I was willing to take the chance if it relieved the pain. So he squeezed me into his schedule yesterday and I had the procedure done at the Hospital. He drained it percutaneously (through my back) with a needle I refused to look at! This was done as I was laying in a CT scan machine so he could see exactly where he needed to put the needle. I initially said I would not need sedation but the more I thought about this needle going through my back to reach my ovary, I decided that another little trip to lalaland would not be a bad idea after all! I definitely feel some relief but am quite sore this morning, as if I had been kicked by horse in the butt! I feel like my sciatica is still firing up but after months of being squeezed, it might take a little while before it heals up. Nevertheless, I feel better and am so glad this was done before I go back on Folfox Monday. I love Dr. D., I wish all my doctors were as thorough and compassionate as he is… I am definitely keeping him on my team!

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8 thoughts on “How many doctors do you really need?

  1. always glad to see your perseverance and competence (interpersonally and medical knowledge-wise 😉 because it gets you treatments and results the “average patient” wouldn’t get. hope u r healing soon (I wouldn’t have looked at the needle either 😉
    … wen’t to Old Montreal – always thinking of you guys when going there and wishing u would still have your apartment there. but soon the “Florida weather” will end here and I am happy you don’t have to bare our winter – especially since u go back on the old cocktail while the neuropathie isn’t even all gone yet. XOXOXO

  2. Smart girl! The timing was right and you took advantage of it. Now you can reap the rewards.

    Being our own advocate is such work, but when we take charge of our lives, anything is possible. You’re living proof of that, Rachael.

    Thank you for this insightful, honest, well written blog. You and your family are such an inspiration.

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