Thursday, July 22, 2010

redux of a bad moment...

i have heard, more than once, that you are a cancer survivor from the moment you are diagnosed.
i also heard once that SURVIVING the diagnoses is the hardest part
That i believe. I recieved my diagnosis over the phone, in my car, luckily not driving yet. I was expecting the biopsy results. I had emerged from an accupuncure session with multiple missed calls and a couple of messages from the Women's Imaging Center, so i knew not to call when i was driving. Just in case it was bad news.
It was.
The calls were from Dr O'Connell. I had not met her, turns out the day i went in was one of the very rare days she was off, but they told me she would be the one to call. She has a slight Irish accent. That i will never ever forget.
I don't feel like trying to explain all the unexplainable thoughts that went through my brain in those moments of hearing those words. It's really hard to re go through.
But i do remember her accent. And i remember thinking how hard it must be for her to do this every day. And then i went into practical info mode...met with the actual Drs that would be tending to me, and tried to forget that part of it all.

Well today i had an amazing oportunity - my best friend was signed up to take me to a follow up Dr appointment this morning, and we decided to make a sorta symbolic day of it and she scheduled a mammogram right before it at my same old place. Like a dual support pact for the boobs.
While she went in to the imaging room, i spied Dr. O'Connell, and i suddenly got up and went to her and introduced myself. I told her we hadn't met but that she was the one to call me. I told her i just had a mastectomy. And I told her i wanted to meet her to erase the negative imprint memory of her voice. We hugged. We talked about my health. She noticed my accent (what accent??) and could tell i had lived in UK so then we talked about marmite. :)
It was very bondy, and kind of emotional. I feel really lucky i got to do that.


  1. Nanette, I think you have a really good outlook that's going to help you immensely.

  2. Please tell me you're going to publish these someday. They're too good not to share----

  3. That sounds like such a special moment Nanette! Yes, I agree, your words will make the most heartwarming book are so genuine. It touches my heart every time I read your posts. xo

  4. Hi Nanette-
    I clicked on your blog posted by one of your friends on Facebook. I recently heard about your diagnosis but didn't know any of the details. Because we barely know each other (you were friends with my little sister back in the old days and we have friends in common, but we've only spoken a few words,) I didn't attempt to send word to you, but I did privately send you all my good wishes.

    Reading your entries, I found myself crying. Maybe it's because I had my kid on my lap and I thought about how scary it would be to get sick and contemplate having to leave her. Maybe it was because I lost my mom to a type of cancer that was untreatable at her stage and years later the memories are still vivid. In any case, I'm so glad to hear that your prognosis is good and you have so much support along the way. Best of luck with the treatments beginning soon. I'll continue sending you all of my good wishes.

    :) Kelley

  5. Nanette:

    I can't believe that a doctor gave your diagnosis over the phone. Every action has a reaction and yours was amazing. I am glad you took it as a teachable moment and I hope the doctor learned that giving out a cancer diagnosis over the phone does not serve the patient any good at all.


  6. Your words bring tears to my eyes, some of joy, joy that you remain so positive in your outlook, but also tears of remembrance as I remember walking in on my mother many years ago as she sat by the telephone in the hall, phone still in her hand, sobbing. She had just gotten the call about my father's breast cancer. But he too was very positive and even though he was diagnosed at stage 4, he did survive. And yes, men get it too, it's just rare. He also had a male version of mastectomy, but in his case no reconstructive ;-)

    But still, it just astounds me that such info is given over the phone. Have docs not learned proper bedside manners? But anyway, that you were able to erase that memory in such a positive way and take that inititive shows your strength and direction of that strength that make me sure you will get though this with sparkles and glitter.

  7. Nice rapproachment with the Irish doc...that was a class act there you so much.