No, I haven’t gone crazy. The codes have meaning.
BRMx = Bilateral Risk-Reducing Mastectomy
RS – Reconstructive Surgery
BC blogs and forums are riddled with such abbreviations. Even I am still learning to decipher them. The other day I read NED. Who or what is Ned? No Evidence of Disease. That one is a winner! Technically, I can already call myself NED, can’t I? I’ll make sure to ask my doctor.
Anyway…there is a point to this blog…I promise.
Today I was booked in for another appointment, presumably to meet with my surgeon. You might think it’s slack of me to be unaware of whom I am meeting, and why. Well, they never specify on the appointment letter. I have learnt to narrow things down depending on where in the hospital I have to go. Also, I haven’t seen my surgeon, Dr Pyke since October 5th – after my initial check up post-lumpectomy. Since then I’ve been shuffled from one surgical assistance to another. He’s been there for the big appointments but since then I’ve met with 3 different minions (is it a bit harsh to call them minions?). It’s one downfall of going public; the personalised service becomes less personal. This would be my only complaint thus far. Oh, and the time spent in waiting rooms. A two-hour wait per appointment is standard. Which was how long we waited today.
Mum and I finally completed our usual game of musical chairs from the waiting room to the doctor’s room.
Nurse: “Do you need to change into a gown?”
Me: “I don’t know. I’m not sure who I am seeing, or why.”
Nurse: “Right…I’ll go ask.” She never returned.
We continued to wait with our eyes fixated on the connecting door. Welcome to The Mater Hospital Game show. Behind Door #1: Would it be: Dr Pyke? An assistant? Reconstructive Surgeon? The door handle turned. It opened slightly. A man’s voice danced through the crack. Mum and I glance at each other in anticipation. The door closes. The wait continues. Is this a Big Brother experiment, or a hospital? Then enters Dr Pyke. The big man on campus. Happy days.
He sat down and commented on my hair growth, not that he ever seen me bald. We recapped on chemo and genetics. I was pleased to know he’d been informed of my decision to have a bilateral mastectomy instead of radiation. No need to explain myself, again. Phew. Today’s appointment was to find out specific details and work out timeframes for my mastectomy and reconstruction.
Since making my decision to go down this path I’ve been doing my homework and looking into the different reconstruction options. Standard. Even though I am yet to meet with a reconstructive surgeon, I feel certain I want to go ahead with prosthetic reconstruction – more on that later!
Reconstruction Hurdle #1
Dr Pyke broke the news that I wouldn’t be able to have immediate prosthetic reconstruction through the public system. A lot of public hospitals, in particular mine, only do this as a delayed reconstruction. The plastics team won’t even book an appointment for me until after my mastectomy! Meaning: boobs off now, wait 3 months, then hopefully be booked in for my reconstruction – if the wait list allows for it.
Strangely enough, the same surgeons who won’t do this procedure as immediate reconstruction through the public system, will if you are seen privately. Public Hospital VS Private Hospital: the battle of protocols. The question was asked. How much would it cost privately?
That, my friends, may be the deciding factor. I didn’t completely fall over when I heard the quote. Maybe just a slight stumble. I need to investigate further and should have a clear idea by next week of the final figures. The good news is there’s no rush. As long as my surgery happens before August (12 months since diagnosis), my surgeon is not worried. I think I know what I’ll be getting for my 33rd birthday… Boobs!