Building a Squad.

Picking the team.  Zany or Nah?


So before I go any further, those who are easily offended need to leave this page now & head on over to the "Believer's" blog posts. It's safe over there.  A nice, informative spot to hang out and learn a few things.  Over here, it will get just a little dicey. 

Handling a cancer diagnosis is unlike anything I've dealt with before, and I've lived a pretty eventful life (nothing is ordinary in NYC and that's the way we like it).  Deciding on a squad and who will make the team was a time sensitive manner.  Straight up.  You have to be brutal and selfish.  You have to be swift, quick on your feet and super anal.  If not, some important particulars will pass you by. Plain and simple. It's your life, but cancer and the treatment of this deadly disease is a business and a lucrative one.  Now, before you get your panties in a bunch, that's just my opinion.  You've got to vet these doctors like your life depends on it, and it does.  The choices you make in the beginning are critical to the contribution of how your story will play out.  I assembled one of the best teams in this city, hands down, and I'm grateful I had the wherewithal, time and assistance to do so.  Even with the best, my relationship with members of my squad got good and ugly.  Eh, life isn't always rainbows and lemon drops.  It's an imperfect dance and I'm okay with my lil two step.   Alright, let's get to the fun part.  My zany team.

Cue the music (ya'll do know I'm Zany right?) 

 DJ Khaled feat. T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop and Rick Ross, "All I Do Is Win"

First Up:  Playing the position of power forward - The Breast Surgeon.

  • Defender of your surgical treatment plan and the alpha dog.   Your surgeon should be highly trained, the best your insurance can cover.  Your surgeon should have an extensive background performing lumpectomies, mastectomies, lymph node dissection and other specialized breast surgical procedures.   You should also be comfortable with your breast surgeon and feel that at all times your breast surgeon has your best interest at heart.  Currently, I have a love hate relationship with my breast surgeon.  But I'd rather walk in the coliseum and face the dragon with a slayer, then roll in with someone I get along with but can't fight their way out of a paper bag!  I learned that lesson the hard way (with another talented team member).   I'll cover that madness too. So don't get it twisted, hands down my power forward was one of if not the best breast surgeon in NYC.  You'll see how that sticky relationship plays out in my follow up posts.

Second:  Playing the position of center - The Medical Oncologist

  • Choose a doctor who has vast experience treating your type of cancer.  This was a hard decision for me.  I had two really good candidates.  One was quirky, brilliant with a mad scientist vibe who definitely voiced his opinion that the relationship between me having had Wilms Tumor as a child, and being diagnosed with breast cancer as a adult was not a coincidence.  Eventually I ended up choosing someone with great experience who did not cut corners, and made adjustments in my treatment plan when necessary.  My oncologist was in tune with me and always on high alert when it came to my care.  For example,  my oncologist rode me relentlessly until I agreed to get  a cat scan which ultimately discovered my pulmonary embolism, a life threatening blood clot in my lungs which had gone undetected.   Overall it's important to make sure that your  insurance covers your choice.  I'll cover that scenario in the next post when I discuss rounding out my squad.