Saturday, April 9, 2011

A tale of two Dr. P's.

I'm not one who gets angered very easily by most things.  For some reason, having cancer, hasn't angered me to a great extent.  So I was a little surprised that yesterday, for the first time I became a little angry over something.  

Now you'd think that being told to fast all night, and then arrive at 7 am for blood work at the Mayo Clinic, only to find no blood work was actually ordered and I only had to register and then wait until 12:45 for my appointment, may have angered me a bit.  I mean we drove until 12:30 am, slept for a bit in Minneapolis, and then got up at 4:30 am to drive to Rochester-all to fill out paperwork that we could have been done at a later time, but oh well. No that didn't upset me.

Rick and I happily set out to find breakfast and wait for my friend Kristi to arrive from Minneapolis.  We spent a leisurely morning over pannekoekens and coffee.  Then we found an outdoor sitting area and sat in the sun for awhile chatting the morning away.  Nope, no anger over that, nothing but smiles.

Waiting 45 minutes for them to take me back to see the doctor didn't even bother me.  I was told I would see a nurse practitioner, then the doctor, Dr. Prema Peethambaram, or Dr. P, as she is often called.

Our nurse practitioner, K, was young, confident, and very clinical.  Her answers were "pat," rehearsed, like she'd said them a thousand times.  From a science standpoint, she felt nutrition wasn't supported in the research so I should just eat well-balanced, but if I wanted sugar, eat all the sugar I wanted.  She slowly shot down any ideas I had of how to help my body fight the cancer, because science showed no clear evidence it worked.  Her main suggestion?  Was to go home and spend time with my kids and take lots of pictures...  And this was about the time I realized I was getting angry.  How did she know I didn't do that already?  She didn't even see me.  She couldn't see the "woman" standing in front of her, she saw statistics, hard science, stage 4, and cancer.  She gave me a book, shook my hand and went on her way.  I felt let down and diminished, for a few minutes. And then I wanted to kick her butt. Smiles. Wow, so not like me, where was this attitude coming from?

But then Dr. P walked in.  She was warm, intelligent, and even though she has also seen a thousand cases just like mine, she saw ME.  Instantly.  She saw the importance of being a mom to young boys.  She loved the study my own Dr. P had found for me.  She even said I was at a little bit of an advantage in Fargo, because the study that was opened in Fargo?  Wouldn't be opened and available to Mayo patients for two more weeks. Its the politics of a larger hospital versus a smaller hospital.  She would be happy to stay in touch with my Dr. P and wrote up an additional back up treatment that she has had success with.  She saw me, and restored me back to who I am, a woman, who happens to be living with cancer.  She breathed hope back into me and sent me on my way.  I love having two Dr. P's on my team now.

The Gonda building of the Mayo Clinic.

View outside from the 10th floor.

Sitting outside in little courtyard outside looking back at the Gonda building.  The sky was blue, the grass was greening up, the sun was out in force and my best friend was there.  

Kristi and I who have a forever friendship that extends all the way back to 9th grade or so.

 Superman, who drove me all the way and made sure my every need was met.  I wouldn't choose to do this with anyone but him by my side.  Lucky for me, he "picks me" right back.

 Dale Chihuly sculptures in the foyer of the Mayo Clinic.

One last look back at the Gonda building.

Mulling everything over on the way home, I realize both Dr. P and K, gave me a bit of what I needed.  K only served to strengthen my resolve to remain filled with hope, and the ability to fight the way I want to fight, with courage while resting in HIM.  Nobody can steal your hope, without your permission.  She will mature and grow in her experience and I don't hold anything against her.

So the Mayo Clinic is everything they say it is.  It feels more like a hotel than a hospital.  The service is impeccable and they are a well oiled machine.  I wouldn't hesitate to bring another family member there or return myself if needed.

And just look what awaited me at home.  In case I need any reminders at all, nothing says "Fight Like a Girl " better than Camouflage, now does it? Thanks girls!  So glad to have the Moor-head girls on my team!

Monday I see Dr. Panwalkar, and with his blessing, start the clinical trial on Tuesday.  Treatment, here I come.


  1. You are too much of an angel to be put in the hands of a neanderthal nurse practioner like that! I'm angry too. She has not kept up to date with current published findings. I hope she did not give you any other misinformation like what she said about sugar. Here's a quote from the Servan-Schreiber, M.D. book, "Anti-Cancer":

    "...German biologist Otto Heinrich Warburg won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery that the metabolism of malignant tumors is largely dependen on glucose consumption. (Glucose is the form of digested sugar in the body.) In fact, PET scans commnly used to detect cancer simply measure the areas in the body that consume the most glucose. If a particular area stands out because it consumes too much sugar, cancer is very likely the cause....researchers conclude that a new class of medications is needed now to fight cancer: medicines that reduce insulin peaks and IGF in the blood. Without waiting for these new medicines, each of us can already cut back on the amount of refined sugar and white flour we consume..." p. 61,62

    Health-care providers are so busy and stressed these days that we cannot depend on them to keep up on all the current data and have to do some research for ourselves.

    Wonderful to see and hear about how all your friends and family are rallying around you.

    Love and hugs ...

  2. Bonnie spoke my thoughts exactly. Isn't it strange that when they give you a PET Scan, they have you fast, then shoot you up with glucose because. . . "cancer cells are hungry and grab for that glucose like they are starving and then light up light a Christmas tree on the scan." So. . . suger has NO BEARING on your cancer????? Odd they would say such a thing. I'm all for starving those suckers out.

    Those distant, humanoids that say all the wrong things are trained that way. Can you believe that there are really training classes on how to be distant from your patients????? We had one that my sister and I called Nurse Rachette. She was just down right mean and uncaring. I hated it when she accessed my port --- it was like a sadistic mad woman coming at my chest with that long needle!!!!

    Vicky, I'm so glad to see you get a little angry. Sometimes it may seem wrong, but just think: NEVER again in your life will you forget how you were treated there, and you will forever understand when another goes through this. Believe me, I learned more of what NOT to say than what was good to say. In fact, most of the time, I seem to keep my mouth shut because it isn't words that count anyways. It's the hugs someone gives, the tears they shed for me, the cards and little gifts, the "Hey, I love you, girl!" and the "Is there anything at all I can do for you?" that means everything.

    So glad you are back home and have a plan. There is such a peace when we know we are on track with the what He wants for us and we can move forward. It was a month for me from diagnosis to first chemo. LONG time!!!!!!

    I'm wrapping you in prayer, Vicky!!!!

  3. Vicky thank you for the update. I've been debating bugging you via text, but how the heck could you answer all that!?
    How was the MRI? Please share (if you are willing) whatever else there is to understand.
    I can't imagine all your mind has to deal with--cancer will NOT take away your hope, spirit, resolve, and the gift of love....
    You and Rick are awesome people!

  4. Vicky, you are a trooper. Your feelings and emotions are real. After reading your post and hearing about K, I thought back to what my dad went through with his bladder cancer last fall. There are doctors that are passionate and then there are some that just see you as a number. I totally understand.

    I'm thinking about you every day Vicky...good luck on Tuesday.

  5. I can't be eloquent as the above commentators were--too much in my head today. You are in my prayers, lady. A new follower: susan

  6. That nurse practitioner makes me so ANGRY!!! I feel like going there and kicking a little a** for you!!! Good for you for not letting her steal your hope and fighting spirit. All our love to you :)

  7. I will FOREVER be your best friend...and ALWAYS be a Moorhead Girl with you...

    Hugs and Hope -- Love, Kristi

  8. Hey Old Neighbor! Isn't Mayo an amazing place! My Mom has went there for 15+ years every six months for check ups. We call it our family's "southern home"! I love that place. I am so glad you got a chance to go! I admire your spirit and wit~keep it up :) Thoughts and prayers with you daily--Kjersten

  9. Okay. Enough of the mushy stuff from me. Time to break out who we both know I really am.

    I'm sitting here in the bathtub - my regular home for reasons I will explain on the blog one day if I grow a pair (of ovaries, that is); I have "One Thousand Gifts" sitting beside me that I actually intended to finish reading tonight but then, I saw your post on Facebook and told my Ipod to shape up, and managed to travel here on it! See? Miracles do happen and you're next!

    First off, congratulations for getting righteously angry and not punching K's lights out. Kudo's to Rick, too. And good for you for wishing her well and leaving all bitterness behind. It only poisons. I'll take the poison for you tonight and be just a little bitter for a bit. I promise to throw it up in the morning and purge myself. It will be Sunday after all.

    I love what Bonnie had to say about nutrition. ( Sorry to the rest of you if you said anything....I only read the first one because of this darned probably waxed eloquent and I'll never know!) Stick with all REAL FOOD and as organic as possible. Juice, juice, JUICE those fruits and veggies. Check out "The Gerson Method."'It's extreme but they've had SERIOUS success. Find what would be helpful to you and then chew up the meat and spit out the bones. Check out Dr. Mercola at You'd need six lifetimes to do everything he says but again, glean. He is a FOUNT of information.

    You have one of the beat healing sources already going for you: a strong faith, a loving family, and a support group of friends that has probably redefined friendship in Webster's dictionary. You are at the doorstep of the latest research. Oh yeah, you just keep fightin' like the girl you are and we'll all keep praying.

    Okay. I'm going blind typing on this tiny screen but you know I never say anything in ten words when I can use five-hundred! I love you! XOXOXOXOXO!

  10. Vicky, I've only met you in person one time, so far anyway, and you're right. You are not someone to get easily provoked. You are a very gentle spirit. I admire that so much! But this was justified anger. I love how you turned it into a positive. You are now seeing this as something you must conquer. Woo hoo! You go girl! Keep with that attitude.

    And Vicky, your photos are astounding. You have a gift, seeing things so visually like you do. You know I love this too, though I have not been taking as many of my own shots of late. I miss it. You inspire me to want to do that again. It's more work but worth it to have such beautiful visuals.

    I'm excited about your trial! My mom-in-law is still living, many, many years later after her trial when she had breast cancer at 33. You have every reason to feel hopeful.

    And by the way, you look awesome! Gorgeous as ever. And so comfy in that sweatshirt.

    Peace in the week ahead. The prayers will continue!


  11. I'd say you have a right to be angry. So be angry . Fight and yell at all of them.
    Demand the best!!!
    One thing I learned with my gramma and Mom, never take at face value they will do the right thing. Do your research and fight back.
    God Bless Vicky!!

  12. I just had a mammogram because you reminded me that I was four months past when I was supposed to go. (THank you). I asked about Stage 4 breast cancer and the survival rate and the nurse said "Absolutely there are more and more cases all the time where new meds and trials are working to let those women diagnosed be treated and move on to live their lives!" She was so enthusiastic and encouraging, I wished you could have been standing with us in that moment.

    I think your "K" nurse was probably not just young and inexperienced, but also a callous person. Period. Jeez.

  13. vicky....thinking of you everyday and sending buckets of prayers!
    your son in his "fight like a girl" t-shirt put the biggest smile on my face...what a doll he is!

    and the mayo clinic, well i have only heard good things about that place, so even with K being a bit clinical, i think you are in amazing hands.....

    hugs to you...

  14. I believe the Ignorant Nurse was placed onto your path for a reason!
    Anger can be a great motivator!
    I am glad you have two great doctors and an awesome Superman!
    Still praying...

  15. ARrrg, I was a bit angry for you just reading your post. How a doctor approaches a patient is so critical. To be seen as a person is the most important thing. I am glad the other doctor you saw had that attitude.

  16. Oh Vicky, I am astounded that you took time to comment on my little blog! I am so sorry that K couldn't muster up one compassionate moment. But, as you said maybe she will learn and YOU learned NOT to let her steal ANYTHING from you, least of all hope! I will be thinking of you and praying for you as you start your treatments. God bless. XO, Pinky

  17. I'm angry with K's lack of compassion and thoughtfulness. No one is going to take the fire out of you Vicky! You're a champion and motivated by love, strength and faith. Thinking of you all the time. My kids ask me about you each day. You're part of us here :) Hugs, hugs, hugs, hugs...

    And are the boys excited about the playoffs kicking in soon??


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