Naturally, I left my carte vitale at home. As I do. It's a green, chipped, credit-card sized register of your insurance and entitlements for billing and such. And -- wait for it -- the woman at registration said it didn't matter. She said she'd figure out the information another way. And she kept smiling. Evidently, she missed out on Doctor's Receptionist School.
Next I registered with the doctor's receptionist and went to the waiting room. There was a short wait before a young woman called my name. I thought, "Now we take the history." To give me credit where credit is due me, I instantly said to myself, "Or that could be the doctor." It was.
Woohoo! You should see my doctor. At least, Brother Dave should see my doctor. I bought a camera yesterday. I'll take her picture when I see her, again. She's almost model thin, not so model tall, and beee-you-ti-full. Young. Corkscrew curl hairdo and gold high-heeled sandals. Form-fitting jeans, cool T-shirt and doctor jacket.
She's also very nice and explained everything to me clearly. When she finished I only had a couple of questions from my list for her, both meaningless in France, as it turns out.
I asked what type of ovarian cancer I have and she said they don't classify in France. You've got cancer; you've got cancer. I asked what stage I'm in. They don't do that, either. So I asked what my chances are. She said it depends on my reaction to the therapy.
Actually, she was very reassuring. When, in response to something that I don't remember, I said to Nick, "No more marathons, then," she said, "Why not"?
She even explained about the costs. (Apologies to American readers for this paragraph.) Rather than our insurance dealing with it, the government pays everything directly. But, she said, it was best to keep our insurance, because there were a couple of somethings not covered (senior moment, but it sounded minor). I just tell everyone I have a (supply 3 initials; senior moments are getting more numerous) and we never have to put out any cash. For the best medical care in the world.
So, here's the program. Next week I meet the nurse who is in charge of me (or whose job it is to take care of incoming patients). That's about a 45-minutes session to go over everything, again, I guess.
I start chemo on September 9th. The delay, if one thinks of that way, is for me to heal up after the surgery. Once you're in chemo, you don't heal.
I'm scheduled for one session every three weeks, six sessions in all, After 3 sessions, they'll do another scan to see how I'm progressing. If all is well, they'll continue the therapy. If I'm not responding well enough, they'll change the drugs. After 6 sessions, another scan and, hopefully, surgery.
I shouldn't be sick. At worst, I'll feel ill for maybe 3 or 4 days after a session. After that I might be tired, but not sick. But my immune system will be suppressed, so I have to be careful. I'll need to take my temperature regularly and if it goes over 38°C, I'll need to call the doctor.
They do a blood panel 24 to 48 hours before each session. The village nurse will come to the house for that.
I assume that I'm going to be getting heavy doses of drugs, a) because I've got an implant in my chest for the needles, rather than them sticking a needle in me each time and b) because Dr. Litor said I'd lose my hair immediately, after the first or second session.
I have a prescription for a wig. What do you think? Grey or white, for continuity? Blonde, so I can check if it is more flattering than grey and I should start colouring my hair, again? Sigh. I'm so lazy. Or blonde with a couple of pink strands, very fetching on Martine who owns the hotel/restaurant in the village? All votes count.
At any rate, I'll be ambulatory, during the treatment. My brother-in-law, John, who has just finished he treatment for cancer of the spleen said the worst part of the therapy was having to stay still for 4 hours at a time. Dr. Litor said I could do what I like. I forgot to ask if I could bring my computer. Next time.
One benefit of only being tired and not sick would be that maybe I can help with the house, after all. John, who is restoring an old Spanish farmhouse, continued to work.
What else? My stitches and staples came out two days ago. The bandages came off today. First shower in over 2 weeks. Ooooooooh, clean!
In other news, our social life is booming since we're in the village. The neighbourhood lunch in our old neighbourhood (La Combe) was a grand success on Saturday. There were about 40 of us and we had a great time Ate well and drunk well. A given.
Tomorrow night we are invited to a post Democratic Convention party to celebrate Obama's nomination. I shall meet some Americans. Feel free to express your political opinions. I'm now moderating comments. Bwahahaha!
And, if you're interested in more detail, cancer.net is an excellent site. I got there from Livestrong, the Lance Armstrong Cancer Foundation site. I got to Livestrong because I live in France and, by default, am a Tour de France fan.