THE NARRATIVE ARC

Learning To Advocate For My Medical Needs

More lessons from my cancer journey

Sandy Maximus
The Narrative Arc
Published in
5 min readJun 15, 2024

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A walking trail along a mountain
Photo by Stefan Wagener on Unsplash

My breast surgeon walked into the pre-operation room to greet me the morning of my second surgery. I was diagnosed three months ago with stage zero breast cancer and underwent surgery on my left breast three weeks back.

I greeted her and asked if she could send me home with stronger pain medication, a request she was hesitant to accept a week prior. “At least for the first 2–3 days,” I said. She agreed.

Then I asked her if she could send me home with antibiotics right away instead of waiting until the post-op appointment like she did the last time. Besides, I knew she was going to be out of the country at a conference the following week. She said that typically, for a re-excision, they give a prophylactic dose of antibiotics, which should suffice. Again, she was hesitant.

I held her hand and told her to be generous with the margins this time. She said she thought she was generous the last time around, but she will try better this time.

She thought the procedure should be rather quick, less than an hour, and she would call my boyfriend, who was my caretaker, after the surgery.

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Sandy Maximus
The Narrative Arc

An academic, a mother, and a wanna-be writer in (pre) cancer treatment with interests from travel to tennis, personal stories, and life lessons.