Generally, I am a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of a gal which drives my husband mad but when it comes to something important like choosing which school to send the children to or planning an important family event or big holiday, I meticulously look at the detail, I want it to be as near perfect as can be.
It’s fair to say then, when you’ve just been handed the, p.s. ‘you’ve got DCIS, oh and it may be worse following surgery card’, that some of us will want to research it. I was definitely in that group and in the three weeks from my initial diagnosis to meeting the surgical team, read hundreds of pages of carefully selected information. This was not to send myself into a state of trepidation but to be better informed and ensure that when I met my consultants I was prepared and had a list of questions, after all, your time with them is limited and extremely valuable.
I’ve had a number of appointments so far; I met a consultant first to hear the news and then was invited back a week later to have a chat with any additional questions I had. At that point, I was referred to another hospital with a plastic surgery unit as I opted for an immediate reconstruction. There I met with my designated oncoplast and a week later, plastic surgeon. Some of the questions I had I asked at each visit and received multiple answers, this does not always help when your head is already in a muddle and you are searching for clarity.
When I arrived at my first consultation with the oncoplast, they had not received my mammogram / histology report so it was very difficult to answer any of the questions I had. My advice would be to contact your consultant’s secretary ahead of your appointment to ensure they have all of your information so you come away with all the answers you need.
Another question that came to me during my appointment but I had not committed to paper was, ‘based on the histology, what is the chance of obtaining clear margins during the surgery’.
Here are the questions I took to clinic.