I ended up a little distressed today. There was a message on my answering machine last Wednesday from the Champion Centre asking me to call them back. I did on Friday only to find that the person who had called me wouldn't be in until the following week but they would have her call me. She didn't, so I called this morning. I knew I was scheduled to see an Oncologist next week so I suspected the call had been to arrange an appointment. Apparently not. In fact, the person couldn't remember having phoned me and had no idea why they had. When I suggested that perhaps it was to set up an appointment, she said, "No". Even though I'm scheduled to see an Oncologist on April 12, there is no appointment because I "don't have an Oncologist". Mine left in November and even though I got a letter from the Centre telling me that I would be assigned to another Oncologist and that I would continue to recieve timely care, that hasn't happened. I was told that they have interviewed Oncologists and offered them positions but the last two chose to accept positions in Regina instead. I asked if we could book an appointment for me for the next available time, but they can't do that either. I'm just on some waiting list with no idea when I might get a call. All I know is that it won't be in April. I told the nurse that I DO have questions for an Oncologist and that I had just stopped taking my Tamoxifen because of all the troubles I've been having. She told me that she would have an Oncological nurse call me. That's as good as it's going to get, I assume. She also reminded me that all available appointments must be reserved for people on Chemo. I understand that and I would hate to see people just embarking on this journey or in the middle of it being told that their appointments were being delayed. But still ... I'm so annoyed. Cancer isn't something that's supposed to wait. It's my understanding (from doctors and from my own research) that chemo is to start within 6 weeks of surgery to prevent interim mestastesis. I waited 13 weeks and I've seen some Doctors raise an eyebrow or wince when noting that in my file. That happened when there was one more Oncologist on staff. I hope newly diagnosed patients aren't being delayed like I was ... or worse. I would advise new patients to be hot on the phone to find out when they're scheduled and to not settle for "you'll get a letter when there's an opening for you". Timing is important. But I digress ... I'm disappointed that my scheduled appointment has been delayed until some unforeseen time.
I did see my Naturopathic Doctor today. She had a few suggestions for me to help me deal with pain. I'll give them a whirl. She also highly recommended massage for me and was able to recommend a couple of massage therapists who specialize in treating cancer patients. She felt around and poked me here and there and she found tender spots I didn't even know were tender. It seems that I have a lot of tender places that only hurt when they're touched. Probably about 75% of my body surface hurts when touched. About 20% of my body hurts without being touched. I have a few pain free spots. She said a massage therapist will have to handle me very gently but she thinks it will be good for me. She also recommended soaking in Epsom Salts. I can do that (thank, Carol, oh wise one). She said my all over tenderness is very like fibromyalgia and she wondered if Arimidex or Tamoxifen could cause either of those. She also told me that my last blood work indicates that my estrogen and progesterone are both so low that they don't even supply a number ... they're both just "below 39" (I think that's the number she gave as the lowest one measured). That means the drugs have been working at reducing my estrogen, which was probably extraordinarily high prior to drugs and which probably explains my body's horrible reaction to having my estrogen cut so dramatically. My testosterone measures at the lowest measurement in the normal range.
I'm waiting for a call back from a massage therapist to book an appointment as soon as possible. As I've mentioned before, I've never had a massage. I'm looking forward to one but am also a little afraid it will hurt since quite light touch can cause pain over most of my body.
I learned today that someone I know has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Hearing it took my breath away and I feel so awful for her and for her family. I hope she knows she can call me if she wants to talk to someone who has preceded her down this bumpy road.