Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The “What Else?” Doctor

Monday I went to Greenville to meet with my plastic surgeon one more time before surgery and also to sign a few papers at his office and at the surgery center. I must say that it’s really quite sobering to put your name on a piece of paper that gives someone permission to do something rather alarming to your very own person.
It’s also rather strange to sit in a little room with a newly met man (the breast surgeon) and casually talk about all the things that comprise breast reconstruction. I’ve always been a fairly modest, reserved person and to be launched into this new world where no one thinks twice about discussing the personal parts of ones’ anatomy—well, let me just say, I’m getting an education! I’m also learning just how far my creaky little ol’ comfort zone can be stretched!
I mentioned before how much Steve and I like Dr. F., my plastic surgeon. He’s breezy and funny and very much engaged in the whole process. I met with him for about fifteen minutes on Monday and he asked if I had any more questions for him.
I searched my modest little brain in an attempt to think of something that I wouldn’t feel too terribly uncomfortable discussing with a fella; when I’d finally asked, and he’d answered, he looked me right in the eye and said, “What else?”
And we repeated the process several times—question, answer, what else?-- until all my questions had been answered and (most of) my concerns had been put to rest.
I’ve had doctors in the past who would sprint into the room, rush around the exam table, do their cursory exam, sprint toward the door, put their hand on the door handle, open it part way, turn and then say with a quick glance at their watch, “Did you have any questions for me today?”
Um. Yes. My first question would be, “Would you care to please come in and sit back down and at least pretend like you’re a little interested?”
And so to have a surgeon who would sprawl in a chair next to me and follow up every single answer to every single question with, “What else?” Well, that was a lovely experience, indeed. He gave the impression of having all the time in the world for me and he made me feel that he understood how big a deal this whole surgery thing really is.
And so I have affectionately nicknamed him, “Dr. What Else?” And I think that every doctor on the planet should add those words to his or her vocabulary, especially doctors and surgeons who are dealing with people who are about to go through something fairly traumatizing.
Yes, I understand that doctors are busy and overworked and have more patients than they can handle. But even if a doctor only has five minutes to spend in conversation, I want to feel like he or she is really in the room with me, and not already mentally already racing down the hall to the next exam room.
And so that’s my Doctor Speech for the day.
In really happy news, I just got a phone call from my sister, Debbie, and it turns out that their schedules will allow for them to fly in for my surgery and then stay with me for about a week afterwards. Hurray! That is such a great relief to Steve and to me, knowing that I’ll have some ladies in the house to help me with all the “fun stuff” that needs to be attended to. (If anyone feels like they would like to help with their travel expenses, it would be a huge help. Please email me at

In closing, let me answer a couple questions that have come in:

Q. JMckemie said, On another note, is it possible that there is a video of the stick performance that you can post? I have never seen the stick ministry but have heard that it it something truly worth seeing.
A. I tried video taping the performance, but the memory space on the camera ran out halfway through. I might be able to get the video from someone else, but in the meantime, you can go to YouTube and type in Arise My Love+sticks and you’ll be able to see some performances very much like what Sarah’s group does. It was truly amazing the impact such a relatively simple musical/dramatic could have on a congregation.

11 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

I am happy to see that you are asking if anyone wants to contribute to travel costs. I have a question that I want you to post: Becky, what specifically could people send you to help you and your family during this time? Then you get to answer it ! See how that works? LOL Have a great day, Pam T

lesley said...

So so happy your family is coming to stay with you. What a huge relief that is. Will Nathan be able to pop home for the surgery? Maybe 'popping home' isn't possible as he is far away...but summer is right around the corner!

MaryH said...

Yes, I agree with Pam T. Make us a list of what will help you out during this time - I was thinking about you last night and trying to think of what I could send or do to help. You have given us a one great suggestion but I think we would all appreciate some additional ones also. It will make a world of difference to have your mom and sister with you. They will care for you and love you like no others can. I will be e-mailing you, Becky. I also want to purchase a Like A Blanket CD so I can listen to your voice and songs while I think of you and pray for you. Praying.

Jessica Kramasz said...

What a blessing to have such a good doctor.

Love Being A Nonny said...

The Lord sent that doctor to you. What a blessing. My husband just had knee surgery at Duke a few weeks ago. Right before the surgery the doctor came in to talk with us and he asked if he could pray with us. He had no idea we were believers so he really stepped out on faith. Isn't God good? He will be with you every step of the way. Praying.

Anonymous said...

My OB/Gyn was just that kind of doctor ~ she made me feel she had all the time in the world for me. She gave me permission to rest more, not do so much, and basically just enjoy life. Sadly, she left a few years ago and we have "traveling doctors" that stay for a month. Boo.

Praying for your upcoming surgery!

Pam D said...

Doctors like that are treasures! And what would happen if ALL of us adopted that mentality? Instead of half-listening.... to spouses, to kids, to people on the street reaching out... what if WE all said "what else?" I suppose that's what Pam T is doing, isn't it? Chocolate seems like not quite enough; along with travel costs, what else can we do? What restaurants, grocery stores, etc are in your immediate vicinity? What else, Becky...

Anonymous said...

I agree - can we get a list of things/items that you specifically need. I would be honored to help.


Jenna said...

I accidently left today's comment on a post from a few days ago. However, I'm not sure if you go back to see if comments have been left on previous posts, so I'm also going to repost here as well!
One final thing that I wanted to add. I've never faced cancer, nor have I had a mastectomy. However, I have faced health issues that have caused a lot of pain at times, and required periods of recuperation.

The best thing I've learned (something I wish I'd learned a decade ago) is the importance of taking care of yourself. I've faced the consequences of pushing too fast, too hard to recover.

So, my advice is take time to rest, recover, and pamper yourself. Spend the time leading up to the surgery getting your house and life and family and any other oblications or responsibilities that you have in order. Cook and freeze meals now so you won't have to cook as much after the surgery. Tackle any cleaning or organizing or yard projects now. Buy fancy pajamas and comfy slippers and soft linen sheets. Do that one "tourist" thing that you've always wanted to do in Manteo, but haven't had the time or opportunity.

If you can, maybe even pack a special "Treat Box" that can only be opened on a day when you don't feel so good after the surgery. (It must contain chocolate, and could also contain a favorite book or movie or even an encouragement letter that you write to your future self to never give up).

Then, go into the surgery with courage and strength and the knowledge that God is on your side.

After surgery, let your recovery time be a time that you refresh, rejuvinate, and pour into your physical, emotional, and even spiritual well being. Let this be a fallow time where you take time to truly rest and reflect and listen to the voice of God. said...

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