Friday, February 4, 2011

Where's the desk?

Today's Shout Outs:

Mandy S, Hunter, Michele H, Stephanie W, Lynn M, Heather J, Deena H, Heidi S

Just a note before reading.  I'm good and my energy is good and life is good.

Dear friends here is a little bit of what was going through my head and a bit of perspective from Kevin during the early days of procedures and prognosis:

The Doctor's office was and is no stranger to us, but it wasn't a second home either.  We have 3 children all healthy and doing well, so we looked forward to those yearly well checks.  Our family has been blessed with very few accidents, illnesses, and/or traumas.  The only main event was when one summer I had to take Hunter to the ER for some stitches in his arm and then just over a year ago, we had to take Nate into an ER for a broken arm.  Not a bad record.  Neither Kevin nor I have had anything debilitating during our life time.

Soooo.... the point of this post is to describe what it was like for Kevin and myself during that first week at the Doctors' offices, procedure rooms, and hallways.  I'm assuming that most exam rooms are pretty much the same, basic walls, drawers, the exam table etc.  They are pretty uniform and standard; nothing to be scared of, but where business is done.

Up to this point, I didn't really think about life and death business being conducted in these rooms.  December 16th was the follow-up appointment to see my Gastroenterologist with the biopsy and endoscopy results.  To be honest, Kevin and I were both expecting something more serious than some simple tummy woes, but we had no idea to the extent of those given woes.

I had known something was "up" because after my endoscopy procedure, I remember a nurse mentioning something about the "Dr" going to see Kevin in the waiting room, but at the time he was waiting for me with Nate and Will and he didn't want to talk with him with the little kids around.  This obviously made me go hmmm... and especially since I didn't see the Dr. afterwards but had a definite follow up appointment scheduled for two days later, but... proof is in the pudding.

So back to that follow up appointment.  Kevin and I sat there waiting in the same exam room that we had our consult in the Monday prior.  I looked at Kevin...

I said, "Where's the desk?  Isn't there a special office? Its not possible that we could get really bad news without a nice big, fancy, shiny, some sort of walnuty desk, is there?", I continued... "It just wouldn't seem right."

Kevin looks at me like I'm nuts, but I continue on... "Movies and TV shows never show bad news scenes in an ordinary exam room! And if they do, they are much bigger than this one and fancier I'm sure!"

Then there is the knock and the Dr. enters.  He has a printed sheet of my lovely innards and essentially says, "There is no polite way of saying this, but you have cancer."

Kevin remembers these details much better than I.  I don't remember specific words, phrases, or even the tiniest details.  Some day, I'll tell you about my other "trauma" I experienced as a child and why I don't think I cope well with details.  Its another club that I was forced to join a long time ago, but don't get all worrying about it... I'm OK!

Well, the cubicle exam rooms continue and even our consult with the surgeon down in Seattle goes the same way... it just seems weird.  As we shuffle through my scans and procedures, its the same way.  At the end of our day in Seattle, I'm in the recovery area after my 2nd endoscopy.  This particular scope was going to be an ultrasound scope, but due to the results of the PET scan, it wasn't necessary so it was just a regular one.  Kevin and my sister are out in the waiting area when the surgeon that we were consulting with comes out with the official PET scan results.

What Kevin remembers is the Joe Schmoes sitting a few seats over and people waiting around for their friends and family members.  Apparently there is a reader board with names on it that lists the varying stages of their procedures.  He said it was kind of like an airport reader board - boarding, take off, landing, etc.

Anyway, back to the surgeon.  He comes in and starts saying that they are sorry... surgery isn't an option...stage 4....sorry there isn't anything we can do...all of this in the waiting room, everyone sitting around hoping their loved one is doing well...  Come to find out as Kevin and Eden made their way towards me in the recovery room the young GI who gave me the endoscopy pointed out the "consult room".  This room did have overstuffed leather furniture, plants, a fish tank, etc.  I guess that movie set does exist, they just don't use it.

Again, the same thing when we met with my oncologist, but at this point I think we were used to it or at least numb to it.  It was in that room that our Christmas plans crumbled around us.  We had started with Plan A, moved to Plan B, and left there with Plan C which then eventually turned into Plan D. Life and death all in a plain old exam room...

Until next time.



cbuswell said...

That's awful they didn't bring you somewhere more private, you'd think they'd be more sensitive!

Glad you're having a good day and your energy is good! : )

Debbie Nelson said...


You write so reading your blog.

Thank you for visiting my blog...yes, 24 treatments does sound like alot...but I have been taking them every two weeks since December is strange how quickly time passes...I was a Respiratory Therapist for 20 years at Arkansas Children's Hospital..a place that I loved and is like family to me...that is one of the hardest things I had to do...was to retire from a job that I loved. I just have to realize that God is in control and He has different plans for me...I will keep up my card ministry where I send cards every week to people on our church prayer list and try to help others through my experience of fighting helps me to talk to others and know that we aren't alone. I am glad that you are feeling well and that your energy is up! Hoping you have a good day and a great weekend!

Hugs and prayers,

Susie said... awful. I know those consultation rooms exist. I've been in one of those several times.

But, I am SO glad that you're having a good day! You're in my thoughts and prayers!

Joan B said...

Thank you for sharing so much. I am learning so much reading your blog, and it has nothing to do with cancer or medicine. I'm so sorry in a thousand ways. Hugs, Joan

Grandma Nancy said...

Thank you for taking us along with you on this scary ride!! You write so well and we've all learned so much! I'm sorry you have to be our teacher. Good wishes that you continue to feel well this weekend. Keep writing and keep fighting!!

~amy~ said...

I'm with everyone else...thank you for taking us along with you on your ride..your writing is mesmerizing to me..I'm glad that you're good today..happy friday!!!! I'm glancing over at your hat photo slide...I wish that I could knit/crochet you one...they are all so very lovely.

Cassie said...

That sounds like it shouldn't be that way. It makes me wonder how doctor's cope with even giving such news. I realize it couldn't be sugarcoated no matter what kind of room you are in, but I actually imagined that you got the news like they do in the movies. I'm always thinking of you, and I agree with Amy above me. . .wish I could crochet or knit you a hat. . .you wouldn't want to wear what I could actually produce with my not-so-mad crocheting skills ;)

Curt in Carmel said...

I sat here for awhile after reading your post just trying to take it all in and trying to imagine it. What was so typical of you was your first "note" to us as readers, letting us know that you are good and your life is good. This is why I find you to be such a special person. You guide us through this journey with you holding "our" hand and making sure you have words for us. Ironically, it is all of us who struggle for words to give you for comfort. I marvel at your strength, courage, and dignity. You have been an inspiration for me since the very first post. I'm pulling for you Kiddo and I'm with you in spirit for every step of this journey. I think about you and Kevin and those sweet kids everyday and wish only for the very best for your family. ABF! Best, Curt

katrynka said...

Not only was it awful that they told you that info in the waiting room in front of everyone, it was illegal. Hipaa laws are very specific about privacy. The law is the reason for the "wait be hind the line" scenario at the pharmacies at Walmart etc. Personally at times I feel that the privacy stuff is overkill, I don't care if someone knows I am on BP meds, but it is MY right to decline the stringent privacy, not THEIRS. Wherever you were could stand to review with their staff that it needs to be standard procedure to take patients to a private area, unless the patient declines to do so.

Anyway, hope that your treatment continues on an upward path.

Tricia said...

You, my friend, are gifted. Your writing is amazing. It is encouraging, humbling, tender and transparent. I hope that you are printing out each post and putting them in a scrapbook. Thank you for teaching me so much!

Joan B said...

well I came back for a second read and saw what the surgeon did. I'd say it was unbelievable but sadly, I'm not surprised. Another hug and this one is for Kevin and Eden.

Laura Isham said...

Katy, I feel as though I was sitting there with you after reading this post. Your gift for words is as inspiring as your gift of card making and your gift of strength and grace. I feel that I am blessed to be able to know you.

Keeping my thoughts and prayers with you everyday,

Jill said...

Dear Katie, Be sure that we are walking beside you even though you have not met many of us.

With love and prayers from Northern Ireland

Jill xxx

rooney said...

i am appalled at the detached manner of physicians. i'm sure it is self-perservation on their part, or maybe it's just arrogant unfeeling behavior. either way, i'm sorry for this journey you are on. one day you will look back and perhaps have a glimpse of good things that may have happened as a result that may take away the sting of moments like the ones you just described.
thinking of you and praying for you and your family as God brings you to mind.
Jackie from MO

Kelly S. said...

Thinking of you, Katie. So glad to hear that your strength is up! I hope that a few physicians out there find your blog and read it. I think that YOU could teach them a thing or two!

Becky Sorensen said...

That first actual diagnosis day was one of my worst days. When you walked in with those tears and we stole off to the kitchen so we weren't talking in front of the little boys, I told you, ok, lets get on this, find out what we do next and kick some butt!! You are doing it girl!! I am very proud that you are my bestie - that we have laughed and shared about the weirdest and craziest things, when we have been up and down and when I flake, and we have much more to do - so let's kick some butt!!!
the crazy lady down the road

Kathy said...

Thank you for your honest account even if some of the details are sketchy for you. I have always thought the same thing...that bad news, medical consults happen in a big room with a "walnuty desk" and leather chair-guess that's just from watching too many medical dramas on tv!
I've often wondered what it would feel like to receive such a diagnosis and it may be my turn soon...your reaction seems like something I'd do as well. I feel a little more prepared though, if I see the doctor coming out to "talk" to me I will immediately request that "movie set room" no one uses.
I'm praying for you!

Claire's cards said...

That was not very sensitive of the medical staff to inform you like that, and I can well understand you don't remember much detail.
You are one brave lady and I look up to you with immense respect and admiration.
Continued good wishes and have a peaceful week-end.
Claire xxxx

judy said...

I hope one day medical training will include more about how to show more respect and consideration for feelings. Sadly, many doctors lack the necessary people skills.

I know just what you mean when you say you can't remember the details
after hearing the word cancer. For
me, that word echoed in my head and
I couldn't absorb anything else. I
think that is a common experience.

So glad to hear that your energy
level is good and you are feeling

Sue Ann said...

That doctor needs to be on the naught mat and a pop on the booty for such ill manners ....... what a jerk.

I have to say that you are obviously a great mom. You take us with you on this journey and you hold our hand and make us okay by letting us know you are okay. Your writing is amazing and when you are done with all this crazy medical stuff I think you should write a book ..... you and kevin from both sides of the cancer. You are amazing Katie and you know I want to hug you.

Feel good sweet girl.

Stacy aka Twinshappy on SCS said...

Katie... Know that I said a prayer for you today. I know what anyone says may not be a comfort... just know that your in our prayers and thoughts. Not that its enough but it is all we can do from afar! Hugs..

Holly said...


Another amazing post! Your ability to bring us even a little bit into your world is a gift - to us all. Sounds like such an unfortunate way to receive that news - as if the news itself isn't unfortunate enough, they do it in such an unfeeling way. But hopefully as you've already read/seen, you are not alone, not ever as there are so many people who are following what you are going through and praying for you and thinking of you. You are loved and you are thought of - and you are amazing!
-Holly in SoCal

Nancy ~ Inkcicles said...

Girl, you have a such a way with words in your writings. I am thinking of you, Kevin, and your sister.


Nancy ~ Inkcicles said...

Girl, you have a such a way with words in your writings. I am thinking of you, Kevin, and your sister.


IamDerby said...

Know that I'm sending you lots of love.

Donna C said...

As always, your words are raw and honest. You continue to move us all and think about what is important. See you next time.

Dawn Burnworth said...

Some things are so hard to understand. I am hoping that you are surrounded by medical staff that truly care about their patient. I am so sorry you had to go through this and hope that today is a good day. One day at a time.. Hugs..

Anonymous said...

Gosh Katie, your post sounds like the commercial for the Cancer treatment center of america. That woman always brings tears to my eyes the way she describes how she was informed of her cancer. Pretty much like your own story. I'm so very sorry for all you are going through, but in a strange way also very thankful for your strength, courage and ability to share your story with us.

You are an amazing woman and even though I don't know your personally, you've touched my heart in ways that nobody has ever done.

Thank you Brave Heart! Prayers and happy thoughts going out to you.

Gail B.

Jesi said...

Just sending healing wishes and thanks for sharing your story

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