I feel like I need a personal secretary to keep up with my scheduled appointments! At this point, I have chosen to consult with 3 of the top breast surgeon's in Richmond for my mastectomy. I also have to meet with their corresponding plastic surgeons as each one prefers to work with a different plastic surgeon. So, you can imagine how busy I am with Dr.'s appointments right now! Unfortunately, some are during the day, so yet again, I am taking more leave without pay at work. I do think finding the best surgeons for me is important so I'll put the other stuff aside and forge on. All three of the Dr.'s I've chosen to meet with were either recommended to me from friends or the genetic counselor.
The first surgeon I met with is a breast surgeon who works mostly with breast cancer patients. Her office specializes in breast issues so she obviously has a lot of experience. She seemed really nice and took a lot of time to work with me and answer my questions (I had a list of about 20!). I got a good feel about her and the office was super nice and brand new (not that I am using that as a factor). The location is not ideal as it is about 25 minutes from my house. Also the hospital she operates at is 30 minutes away, though a super nice hospital. She gave me a great plastic surgeon she works well with and so I need to now get an appointment with her. Apparently she is a busy plastic surgeon, which seems like a good thing, so I hope I can get an appointment soon. I am still months and months away from actually having the surgery so I feel I have some time to "shop around". She claimed that my comfort level with the plastic surgeon was most important as they are responsible for the cosmetics of how I will look for the rest of my life. The breast surgeon does have an important role though, they need to get as much breast tissue out as possible so I want someone with experience in that area.
Today I am off to a Dr. who works at the VCU Massey Cancer Center and I am sure he'll have a plastic surgeon that he works with. I've already met with one plastic surgeon so we mark that one off the list. I think the reason I feel so overwhelmed is because I am in the really scary part of the process....the decision making process. I am making life altering decisions. 1. to have the surgery at all 2. What doctor to use and 3. When to have the surgery. I have to say that #2 and #3 are stressful. There is never really a great time to rip apart your body and have someone piece you back together so we are just choosing the best time for our family, work, etc.
As of now, we (Dan and I) think that Mid-August after returning from our third beach trip (we are beach people!) but before Dan goes back to work would be best. Since it is so far out it seems most Dr.'s schedules are flexible and so that shouldn't be a problem. More to come after my appointment Surgeon #2.