Two steps forward, one step back. Something happened last weekend to my back, and I couldn’t figure out why I was in such pain. Bretta’s diagnosis helped, but when I went to the doctor and PT later in the week, they both blanched at the report that I had 3 ribs and 5 vertebrae out of place. The PT refused to treat me, sending me to another PT, a specialist. The doctor, well, let’s listen in on part of the conversation that she and I had when I went in on Thursday.
Me: I’ve just finished a year of treatment for Stage III cancer, and I seem to be having some side effects.
Dr.: Okay. What kind of side effects?
Me: Well, the right side of my back hurts a lot. My lymphedema therapist thinks that the muscle underneath my arm was fried a bit by the radiation, and it’s pulling across my back and pulling the ribs out from under my spine. After months of trying to figure it out, we think that’s what’s happening. I need a treatment plan.
Dr: A treatment plan?
Me: Yes. I need a referral to a PT in my health insurance plan who can help me with the muscle, to my radiation oncologist for my 6 month checkup, and to a specialist who can help me with the pain.
Dr: We’ll see about that. I’m not giving you anything until I examine you.
Me (meekly): Okay.
Dr: Take your shirt off.
Me (doing it): Okay.
The doctor brusquely makes a note in my chart and turns away to check something. When she turns back around, I’m naked from the waist up, all scars and burns and lumps in strange places.
Without touching me, she looks for just a minute, and then says, “Okay. Now let’s get you those referrals.”
I walked out of there 15 minutes later with 3 referrals and a promise to help me get the lymphedema treatment covered too.
I’ve never been so relieved to be so visibly damaged.