Dear Dr – You’re Fired!

On Tuesday, March 3rd, we had our first surgical consult.  This was going to be where we got to talk to a doctor, get our questions answered and find out how to fight this new monster in our lives.  My husband and I showed up early, waited as patiently as you can wait after not sleeping much for the last four days, and had a list of questions prepared.  Over the weekend, we had gone through an online presentation from the National Breast Cancer Foundation that was like a tutorial on cancer ( see link below ) and, while many people recommend staying away from the internet so you don’t scare yourself too bad, I had to have information (and it gave us terminology to be able to understand what the doctor was saying).

Dr. L. did an exam, drew some diagrams, and then sat us down and said, basically, “You need to listen to what I’m going to say, I’ll go pretty fast so try to keep up.  If you have questions, I will probably have answered them by the time I’m done, so be quiet and listen.”  She then proceeded to give us a nice presentation on inflammatory breast cancer (approximately 10 minutes).  At the end of her presentation, we tried to ask questions, but she was done and the appointment was over.  There were no questions answered, other than confirming that it was the inflammatory kind of cancer (she answered that in her presentation).  She had shown us on the ultrasound how a large area of the skin was thickened and involved, confirming what we feared.

We were turned over to her staff to schedule an MRI in two days and sent on our way.  When we got to the car, I was in shock, and my husband was ready to look for another doctor.  She may have been smart, highly skilled, good at presentations, but she sucked at meeting what this family needed.

Dr, you’re fired!  My wonderful husband took the next day off to spend on the phone while I went back to work and try to find out where to go from here.  He got us an appointment for another consult with a surgeon in two weeks.  Her staff was fabulous at answering some of his questions on how this works, what to expect, who answers what and made us feel like they realized this was important to us.  I’ll be seeing Dr. Christine Lee at Swedish again today (see link below), hopefully to schedule surgery for August.  She did not blow off some of the issues my previous experience with being a “difficult intubation” presented (a trach is something I would really like to avoid, and she inspired confidence that is possible).

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Dr. Christine Lee



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