July 5, 2018
Here I am at a mall!

When I last saw The Oncologist™, he was his usual affable self1. He asked about side effects then seemed quite unconcerned about the gastro ones and suggested tums for heart burn. We weren’t talking about a little case of heart burn here. I was having acid reflux which is actually quite difficult for me to pull off given that I have vertically banded gastroplasty.2 So, we went on in our usual way as he asked about numbness or tingling in the extremities and I had none to report. He was not particularly interested in anything else I had to say.

I decided to broach the question as to the stage of my cancer as it was some information I required to be added in to a Facebook group for women with metastatic breast cancer. I expected him to tell me that he couldn’t tell me that yet. But instead he blithely said: four.3 I get that The Oncologist™ is a super duper well-learned, trying to be kind of cool dude but man can’t you summon up a little human compassion?

I have copies of his reports to my doctor which I have not read yet. It will be interesting to see what he says. I really don’t like him at all. However, I do like that I can go to a hospital close to home, where the clinic is nice and they give you a staff parking pass so you only have to pay $3.50 for parking. I shall try to find a redeeming quality in The Oncologist™.

In other news, I got an Impark ticket cancelled by being nice and lying a little. We didn’t pay for enough time at Royal Columbian Hospital when I had my port done last Friday. In all fairness, they did make me wait a long time to go home! The parking prices at hospitals is horrible. I don’t know how those without the means to pay handle it. Today, I am grateful I have the means.

  1. As in, not.
  2. Basically, my stomach has been made into 2 pieces a small piece at the top with a tube or banded channel for the food to pass through. In order for me to get acid reflux it actually has to go up through that tube.
  3. Empathy Translator here: Given the clinical picture with a triple negative tumour, inflammatory breast cancer and metastases in your lungs I would have to say stage 4.


Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 50

2 thoughts on “Day 173 – The ‘Stage 4 Gut Punch’ edition

  1. Once there’s a distant met, it’s automatic stage iv. Being triple neg (I am too) or the histological type (inflammatory or IDC etc ) don’t really affect staging (there are some tiny exceptions now under the 2018 AJCC guidelines but not really relevant here.)

    Clinically oncologists actually use the TNM staging method, where T=tumor, N=nodes (lymph) and M=metastases. You can see an explanation of it here & at the bottom there’s a chart that translates the TNM into the common stage I,II,III & IV. Any met to distant organ is automatic Stage IV. https://breast-cancer.ca/7a-staging/ (silly looking website but the info is top notch and up to date).

    I’m sorry he told you so carelessly; I’m guessing he thought you knew once you had the results of the scan but really, many patients are frazzled and overwhelmed and most are not medical experts on breast cancer so they really need to explain things better.

    Are you doing taxol now? I just had my 10th of 12 taxols.

    1. Yes, I have treatment # 3 coming up. I am really suffering because of the prednisone though. I am going to see if they will skip it next time.

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