Texas girl in the middle of Kiwiana

Amy Boatman

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Medical Oncology

Shannon and I met with the medical oncologist on August 12. Dr David Okonji at the Bowen Icon Cancer Centre. The appointment was first thing and since we don't like to be late we were there before most of the staff. Dr Okonji is wonderful! He spent an hour with us telling us the history of breast cancer treatment from 1979 until today including the pioneers who forged the path. He explained his recommendation of neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgery to remove whatever is left. He answered all our questions.

The idea behind neoadjuvant treatment is that if chemotherapy is used first the tumor will shrink and when we get to surgery there will be less tissue that needs to come out. So instead of a full mastectomy it will hopefully be a lumpectomy and I'll get to keep my breast. Although truth be told I wouldn't be terribly upset if they removed them both. Boobs just get in the way. Bras are supremely uncomfortable!

I really took to Dr Okonji. He has a great manner and seemed really on it. It's important that a doctor instills trust. The folks at the Bowen Icon Cancer Centre all seem great as well. I feel better about the whole thing knowing I'm being taken care of.

I was supposed to have the echocardiogram on Wednesday and the portacath put in on Friday. And then NZ suddenly had positive delta COVID cases. We went from life as usual to level 4 complete lockdown with 6 hours on Tuesday. Luckily they were able to do the heart scan first thing Wednesday morning but the the portacath procedure has been postponed. I'm not sure when that will happen.

It's really strange going back into lockdown so suddenly. The rest of the world has been battling COVID for the last year and a half while NZ has been this little isolated country where we've had life as usual. Sure most of us wear a face mask on public transport but we don't really worry. Our pandemic experience has been vastly different from the rest of the people on the planet. Suddenly the delta variant call is coming from inside the house. Cases in Auckland and Wellington. Locations of interest growing every day. Just as I'm diagnosed with cancer and about to start chemo we suddenly have delta popping up all over.

Under level 4 we're all working from home. There's a lot of drama at work now too. There's a restructure happening and who knows where the chips are gonna fall on that one! Who will still have a job? Who will move up and who will move down. All I can do is my job and hope for the best.