I am very proud of myself.
I still have a lingering fear of male anger, left over from my childhood. It's not a problem when the male expressing anger has no control over me, or if the likelihood of my being beaten is low. I can then give as good as I get and snarl back. But as the potential for that male to injure me goes up, so does my fear, and I can turn into a quivering puppy.
I saw my urologist's anger in June of last year, when I questioned the wisdom of "blasting" the kidney stone when I have fragile capillaries. He was furious. He obviously doesn't like to be challenged. I was frightened, because he has a lot of control over what happens to me.
I haven't seen him in six months. At my last appointment, May 8, 2012, as I was heading out the door he wrote a scrip for another test. This one involved an xray or scan or whatever with a radioactive contrast, another IV. I tried to question him about the necessity, what were we looking for, but he was brusque and simply said, "The condition is progressing" and went in to the next patient. He wanted to see me again in six months.
I didn't want to do that test. Not after what I went through with the IVP. I never want to go through that again, especially if it isn't necessary. I've had a gazillion tests and xrays and CT scans and everything, and they all say the same thing - the stone isn't growing, my 1.5 kidneys are working fine, there are no lumps or cysts in them - what exactly is "progressing"? And if he's so concerned about "progression", then why schedule my next appointment for six months away?
I decided not to go for that test.
Last Tuesday was that six-month appointment. My hands were shaking and I couldn't stop them. He looked through my file and asked why I hadn't got that test. I told him I chose not to, because it would be extremely difficult and painful for me, that I understand that we do need to keep an eye on things, but that I felt we could do that with blood tests, ordinary xrays, and ultrasounds, and if those showed any indication of something to worry about, then we'd go further.
You have no idea how much courage that required.
(I didn't mention another concern - the second chamber in my left kidney isn't draining, so if we fill it with radioactive juice that won't be flushed out easily, um, isn't that a problem? I was remembering the nurses telling me that even if Jay had been able to kill his tumor, the treatments would have damaged him so much, he wouldn't live much longer anyway. I don't want to chance damaging the kidney further with tests.)
The urologist didn't get mad! In fact, he seemed pleased and amused (as he was scribbling copious notes into my file). There are a couple of ways to interpret his reaction, but I think I'll just take it and run. The way I'd like to interpret it is that he worries about malpractice, and I just signaled that I'm unlikely to sue, and have given him a defense if I do. (The other is that maybe he's relishing a future opportunity to say "I told you so.") He made no effort to convince me that the test was necessary.
My next appointment with him is in January, and I'm to get a blood test and urinalysis between now and then. That I can handle.