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So there I was, at the hospital, armed with a copy of my CT scan report (in both English and Spanish) and my list of questions, which mostly pertained to everything mentioned in the “conclusions” part of the report. I felt nervous but prepared. Unfortunately, none of my (3) bilingual friends were able to come with me, so I was there on my own (not the best situation for me), nonetheless I was determined not to lose focus and forget to ask my questions.

Things started off okay, with the oncologist saying that because the “mystery inflammation” was still there she was going to ask for another endoscopy (the previous one was in March 2018) and she admitted that the source of the inflammation remained unknown. Then I started going through the other points mentioned in in the conclusions – splenic lesion, underlying liver disease, microlithiasis of the gallbladder, thyroid nodules – at which point the oncologist (AKA MY DOCTOR!) actually said to me “I’m here to deal with what I think is important, not to give you an anatomy lesson”. And well, that shut me up, as I’m sure was intended.

But I mean WTAF? She is my doctor. She is there to provide information and advice, not just write a prescription (or in this case a endoscopy request) and tell me to come back if anything hurts. Fuck that shit.

I know that I was spoiled many years ago back in Toronto by my beloved GP Dr Paul. He taught me how to be a proactive patient and to keep asking questions until I was satisfied that I understood any given medical situation and felt that it was being handled properly. Unfortunately, what I came to learn over the years is that most doctors don’t want patients like me. They prefer the ones that just take their prescriptions and get out within the 3-4 minute time slot they’ve been given.

When I first got cancer back in 2008 I felt so lucky to have my Team, Ricardo, Pilar and Isabel, the three doctors from Nuclear Medicine who had been my English students a few years previous. I honestly feel that I would not have been taken as seriously nor would have been given the same thorough treatment. I also would have been stuck with the dickhead oncologist who sentenced me to death one day, telling me my cancer was inoperable and I had maybe a year to live, without having read the most recent biopsy report (!!!). Instead Ricardo set me up with the assistant director of oncology, Ana C, who took over my case, even though her speciality was actually breast cancer. Suddenly I was being listened to, I had a chemo port put in, and I felt like I could ask Ana anything and expect a proper answer.

Now Ana, Ricardo and Pilar have retired, and my latest oncologist is, well, clearly not about to give me an anatomy lesson. I am livid. Which is kind of better than being scared, but only just. Oh, and I was her last appointment of the day, so there was no actual need to give me the bum’s rush since no other patients would have been left waiting if she’d spent a little extra time with me. Instead she was patronising and dismissive and I really really don’t want to see her ever again. Except I have to. Bugger.

For the record, this is the bit she found important enough to act on. It makes little sense to me and she was not about to explain it so I am still in the dark. If there’s a doctor in the house maybe you know what this means?

Thickening of the posterior wall of the body and gastric antrum associated with a retrogastric collection at the level of a smaller sac with gas inside it, without being able to confirm the existence of neoplastic inflammatory etiology. This collection extends between the pancreatic tail and the spleen and into the left void through a thickening and fistulization zone of the left anterior pararenal fascia. From this area of the peritoneum it presents fistulous contact / path to the post-anastomotic colon and to an adjacent jejunal loop.

Engrosamiento de la pared posterior del cuerpo y antro gástrico asociado a una colección retrogástrica a nivel de saco menor con gas en su interior sin poder confirmar existir de etiología inflamatoria neoplásica. Esta colección se extiende entre la cola pancreática y el bazo y hacia el vacio izquierdo a través de un engrosamiento y zona de fistulización de la fascia pararenal anterior izquierda. Desde esta zona del del peritoneo presenta contacto / trayecto fistuloso hacia el colon post anastomótico y hacia una asa yeyunal hace adyacente.