This is the week Dr. Guru promised to do my re-excision.  But not a word from his office or from his assistant, Joy,  who  supposedly is “arranging the details.” No explanation. No apology. No  follow up.

Meanwhile I am obsessed with my research, trying to figure out the dangers of putting off radiation. Everything I have read says it should ideally be within four weeks of the lumpectomy,  no more than eight weeks.

I find a Breast Society Journal that confirms what I suspect:  2nd incision not good for the breast, tunnel syndrome etc. Dr. Guru himself has written something in this journal.

And how will Dr. Guru know where to carve again, now that my breast, presumably, has heeled?

“Will remove lateral margin with aid of frozen section. My assistant arranging details. Thanks,” reads Dr. Guru’s email in response to mine. But he gives no hint of exact date for my re-excision although “next week”  is right now.

I call Dr. Alpha, my radiation oncologist,and ask him  if a two week wait is OK.  ” Not ideal, but OK,” he says.

Pissed, I call Dr. Guru’s office.

“I am supposed to have surgery this week, but I have no idea which day he means,” I tell his assistant.

She has no idea either.

“These small procedures are so hard to fit into his schedule,” she laments.

“I am already aware of how terribly insignificant my procedure is , but I cannot go on with my radiation and hormone  treatments without the re-excision.”

”Oh no,  that is not what I mean.”

“Can another surgeon do it?” I ask realizing I sound ridiculous.

“Oh no, then you are a new patient and have to start all over again. How about  the 15th?

“That is TWO weeks away. Two months since my first surgery.”

Briefly, I am put on hold. She comes back to tell me they have no openings this week. None.

“Maybe the 7th. I will call you back if we have a cancellation. Promise.”

“He usually does these small procedures on Fridays,” she says. “But this Friday he has a 10-hour procedure scheduled.”

I don’t give a rat’s tail anymore.

“How about my little one before the big one on Friday?”

We keep wrestling over the phone, both of us digging in our heels, but neither of us loosing our cool.

“I am going over to the hospital this afternoon,” she finally concedes. “I will ask him to call you if he can do something about it. Some times he sees thing I don’t.”

“Have him call me either way,” I tell her. “I want it straight from Dr. Guru’s mouth to my ear why he told me he was going to do it this week and suddenly he can’t. I want to hear him say it.”

Around 3 PM,  Dr. Guru’s assistant calls. She sounds relieved. “You have pre-op  on Thursday at 10.45 AM. Your  re-excision is on Friday, 1 PM.

I immediately feel guilty. What melanoma patient has been pushed off the table to make room for me? What woman with advanced breast cancer, a double mastectomy with reconstruction may have been pushed off the OR table? What person needing a 10-hour surgery is now in a complete funk because of me?

“Bullshit,” says my friend Cecilia.  “He just canceled his golf game, that was his 10-hour procedure. Don’t kid yourself.”

But I am not convinced, just relieved to know it will finally be done.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: