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Jun 30, 2012 11:20AM
MY DAY IN NEW YORK CITY, MEETING WITH DR. BECKER (this may be very boring)
Well I had my appointment with Dr. Becker and absolutely love her! I asked her about her patients and her research and was entirely satisfied. (It's pretty much what I thought it would be.) She has followed all of her patients but also explained to me that when someone is back to normal for years and years they just stop coming to appointments. She has not had one patient who has had problems in another area, and the reason she has not published more research is that she said that research takes time away from surgery, and she would rather be doing surgery than writing. I had no trouble whatsoever understanding that. I think she and I are kindred spirits in that way. When I told her that I was a nightmare patient in terms of doing all the suggested things to help my LE, she didn't seem to have any difficult understanding that either. She believes in getting to the root of a problem and fixing it. Everything else is temporary and has to be continually repeated. I think that's why she is so excited about the lymph node transfer. It's a permanent fix.
She is extremely insistent upon everything being set up perfectly for success. That's why they insist on the specialized MRI. She explained to me that if there are not enough lymph nodes in a certain area, you don't go near that area. She also said that if there are a lot of lymph nodes but someone cuts too deep, you risk creating a problem in that area. So I guess there's a lot that goes into deciding the perfect spot from which to take the lymph nodes and the exact amount of cutting that needs to be done. I asked about the surgery itself and the recovery and both are pretty painless. But because it's microsurgery and every vessel needs to be connected perfectly, they need to take their time with it. So it is probably more time-consuming for that reason.
I can tell you that I went down there with a lot of hesitation because frankly I am surgeried out at this point, and the thought of having to go through that whole drill, and be far enough away from home, doesn't really intrigue me. Add to it that my LE is entirely do-able. After meeting Dr. Becker though, I am totally sold. When I was waiting for my appointment, there was a woman in the waiting room and I started chatting with her. She was there from Ohio with her daughter, and her daughter was in with Drs. Becker and Vasile. The daughter's LE was in both legs, and they have no idea how she got it. I didn't have time to ask her a lot of questions, and I'm not sure I would have asked more anyway because it's not really my business. But when the daughter came into the waiting room I couldn't believe my eyes. Both of her legs were totally blown up. I wish I had gotten her name because she is having surgery on Tuesday. I would have liked to keep in touch to see what her progress was.
I also got to meet with an anesthesiologist because being under horrifies me. I've had some bad experiences in the past. After talking to this doctor, I felt totally relieved. Everything I brought up as a problem, she had a remedy for. She took copious notes and assured me that they would take care of all of the things that had been problems for me in the past.
The final part of my journey didn't go as well. They were running behind at the MRI place and to tell you the truth, that was going to be my least favorite part of the trip. I am extremely claustrophobic and the MRI is 2 hours. And it is a closed MRI. The end of the trip had to be precision, pretty much, as I had scheduled myself for the last train home. When they said they were running behind, I got nervous because I didn't think I'd be able to make my train. So I left without having it done. (Relief on some level, ha ha.) But I realize that it is a very important part of the whole thing so I know it's going to need to be done at some point.
Dr. Becker is not back in the states (after this) until September, so that gives me time. If September doesn't work for me, I could always push the surgery out until the time after September. So I definitely have options.
If anyone lives close enough to NYC to even go in for a consult at some point, and you are interested in checking it out, I would tell you to get in touch with Dr. Vasile and try to set something up for the next time Dr. Becker is here. The worst thing that could happen is you decide it's not for you. But you just might feel it is worth a shot.
I think I am going to call her office and see if they will give me the name of the person from Ohio or at least give her my name. I am going to be very interested to see her result. I know that she will only be able to tell me about short-term, of course, but even that will fascinate me because she definitely had a very very bad case of LE.
Hope I didn't bore you too much! I will keep you updated on whatever comes next. If you have any questions, ask away; or if you want to PM me at any point, feel free to do that too.
I'M DOWN WITH CHEMO!