I love my OBGYN. He was the brave soul who called me about 15 minutes after I left the mammography center to tell me what the Radiologist thought.
He said, “I don’t know how much they told you, and I’m sorry if I’m being too blunt, but what you do from here on out will dramatically impact your ultimate outcome, so I’m going to be very direct. The radiologist believes you have breast cancer.”
I sat down, really hard in a chair, and grabbed a pen and paper and started writing down everything he said. I noticed how cold I was, I started shaking and it was hard to talk, because my voice was stuck in my throat. I felt like I was watching what was happening, and experiencing it, all at the same time. It was a very strange, out of body sensation.
I certainly didn’t know any breast cancer surgeons. I didn’t even know about the distinction between a breast cancer surgeon, an oncologist and a radiologist. I was so lucky that my OBGYN gave me the names of the 2 best breast cancer surgeons in New Jersey and I quickly decided to go with the one who was in my healthcare network.
Side tip: If you find a good doctor referral who’s in network, go to them, as the cost of this stuff is crazy astronomically high. My total costs of treatments including chemo,surgeries and reconstruction were well over $225,000. Thank God for health insurance.
Back when I was a marketing director at J&J, I used to work on the company’s cause related marketing campaign with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. I would give impassioned speeches to J&J senior management teams about how important early detection was, and how 1 in 8 of the women in the room would someday have breast cancer, as I tried to drum up money to pay for the sponsorship fee.
As I sat there taking notes while my OBGYN told me who to contact, and what to do next, my mind literally stopped for a second and I very clearly had the thought, “Holy shit, I was the 1 in 8 at all those meetings.”