Feb 282006

My life has involved way too many medical appointments lately.

There was the trip to see Dr. On-call-ogist a few weeks ago, which all went smashingly well.
And then there was the ultrasound last week, to find out why my belly feels like some part of me is sneaking over the fence to see what’s up in the rest of my gut.
And today I had a visit, my first, to the High Risk Clinic, here in my town.
Tomorrow, I will go see the opthamologist and see if I need new glasses. I hear some women find glasses sexy and I am looking to accessorize, if that’s what’s needed.
Next week, on my days off, it is my fervent hope that I do not spend time with anyone who owns a lab coat. Also, I want no alarm clocks anywhere near my sleeping head on my days off next week .
Is that so much to ask?

Last week, when I was sitting in the full to bursting waiting room, waiting for my name to be called so I could have my ultrasound, I started thinking about

a) how completely phuqued the world is around gender issues


b) how that general phuque-ed-ness can create barriers to people like me which means we are reluctant to seek out the healthcare we need and deserve.

See, the ultrasound is sort of a small scale version of the problem, but I can tell you with great confidence that the folks who work at that lab don’t really know how to deal with someone like me.

It starts when they call my name in the waiting room, and I jump up enthusiastically while they are staring at my girlfriend or someone else who is more clearly pitching her tent in Camp Estrogen.

They don’t know how to deal with the overall butch dyke-y-ness of me and it makes them get very cautious about everything.
They get very anxious about touching me, and they get more than a bit freaky in their hesitation to commit to a pronoun.
People like me get referred to as “this person”, quite a bit.
It’s kind of unpleasant, feeling like a leper in the 21st century.
And, here’s the thing.
The world, in many places, has softened its hatred of gays/lesbians/quees. But the gender thing is still a pretty hostile world.
One of the wildest things about doing chemo and being visibly sick, (and essentially sexless and therefore harmless in the eyes of the world), was that for the first time in my adult life, people didn’t treat me with that hostility. It was so shocking. And it was strange to think that it took chemotherapy to make people stop being nasty on principle to me.
So, I made a decision during chemo that I wasn’t going to ride at the back of the bus anymore, and when I got better, I was going to walk around with a sense of entitlement that most regular don’t even realize they have.
So far, it’s been interesting and I have been pretty successful.

But I still think that many of us, many people like me, don’t seek out appropriate healthcare because it is just so emotionally gruelling. By people like me I mean the great big group we call genderqueers.
For any genderqueers, or lovers of genderqueers, who are reading this, let me just say, don’t let that crap stand in your way.
For one thing, we will never change the system if we don’t stand up and rock the boat.
And for a much more important reason, it could mean you don’t find out important medical information in a timely fashion.
It’s hard enough for most of us to get the care we need. Let’s not make it any easier for our needs to be neglected.

And to put a sunny finish on this tale, today we went to visit another oncologist at the High Risk Clinic.
She and I didn’t do so well when we first met. I think there were some things about me that she found freaky and I, about 10 days after surgery and my diagnosis, didn’t have a whole lot of stretch for a doctor who couldn’t cope with some of the parts of me.
So we got off on a bad note.
But today I had to see her again.
Today she was sweet and great and attentive.
I think I was just a small step on her interpersonal learning curve, so that’s a good thing.

The other good thing is that she said that the results of the mammogram and the MRI are all good and I don’t need to see her again till the summer.

I’ll take it.

 Posted by at 10:39 pm
Feb 152006

It was suggested to me that I actually, you know, post something and let people know what the deets are from the latest visit with the dude in the lab coat.
Bad Spike strikes again.

Okay, so how it went is like this.

End of January, went and had the blood draw.
Beginning of February, go see Dr. Labcoat.
Now, historically, that week between the blood draw and the visit with Dr. On-call-ogist has been brutal. The world seems to take on a real nutty flavour, which doesn’t subside until we skip, relieved and yet emotionally exhausted, down the hallway to the parkade, delighted again to have good test results.
This time, things weren’t so nutty. I am not sure if this is because everything has been so all-around generally nutty that I am now completely calloused and can’t tell when any new nuttiness has been added, or perhaps I reached my nuttiness quota and the added bits just fell off me with nowhere to stick, or maybe we are getting used to this drill, or well, really I have no idea.

But the day came and there we are, in my little examination room, me in my stunning blue gown that really brings out the crack of my ass, when the nurse from the clinical trial came in and we all had a loverly little jaw wag because she wasn’t there last time so there was much blah blah blah and catching up and all. And then she looked at me sternly and said, “Where is your blood work?”
And let me just say, that got my attention.
We assured her that there had been the required trip to the lab the week prior and that it must exist somewhere.
She left and came back with the results.
Soon, Dr. On-call-ogist came in and told me I am brilliant.
I like it a lot when he says this. What he means is that my test results are brilliant. He isn’t speaking about my Mensa potential, which is sorta sad, but really, I’d take good test results over a Mensa membership, any old day.
For those of you following along at home with your CA-125 score card, the results are at exactly the same place as 3 months ago, which is the lovely, friendly, sign of infinity, number 8.
That’s good enough for me.

Soon, I get to go have my first visit at the High Risk Clinic.
I am hoping they have a gift shop or something because I would like a t-shirt.
Anyway, I have to go speak to them because I am a mutant.
That ain’t happening till later in the month.
And I also get to go back and have exactly the same ultrasound at exactly the same place that I had my “welcome to the wild and action packed world of ovarian cancer’ ultrasound, about two years ago.
See, I think I have some sorta hernia or something because I get some pretty weird feelings in the spot where they sewed and stapled me back together. Maybe they left a scalpel in there or something. I dunno.
But it’s weird and it feels kind of wrong in a ‘do yerself an injury’ sort of way, not in a ‘oh, another honking big tumour is living in your gut’ kind of way.
Still, returning to the scene of the crime like that is a bit unnerving.
Plus doing the distended bladder routine that the ultrasound requires is a bit sick and twisted.
But it beats the alternative.

So, that’s me and this month’s health tidbits.

More as it happens.

 Posted by at 1:49 pm