I met with the Chemo Doctor. The Radiation Doctor and I will meet on Wednesday. While I was waiting I was reading Voltaire’s Candide. I am enjoying it. I will continue to read it at appointments in waiting rooms and such for the next many weeks. The photo inset is from Candide. I found it to be quite interesting and well put. Just a little FYI.
Apparently, much to my surprise, I will undergo Chemo weekly and Radiation daily for five or six weeks prior to surgery. This will begin no later than the second week of June. Considering this is already May 31st and it’s late in the day so, it’s really closer to June 1 than it was an hour ago that means this will begin pretty soon. The one thing they are waiting on is the trans-anal-ultrasound. whopee.
Dr. Look says that they will be able to “stage” the cancer using the ultrasound imaging information. I still have no idea how they do that. I suppose its better than closing your eyes and asking the Magic 8 Ball for the answer while rolling it in your hands until, you turn it bottom up to see the little white triangle bounce up against the purple inked ceiling to allow its response to be read aloud to the waiting group of anxious and excitable kids.
Dr. Look gave me a thick packet of material to read about rectal cancer. He’s still not sure whether it is anal or rectal or what. Again, the ultrasound will help with that as will another CT scan in a couple of weeks. yay. I noticed this was printed off of a website that said ……gov. I told him that was where I researched my info: At http://www.nih.gov. He said this is the NIH Cancer website. So, I already had the basics and more. The document is entitled “Rectal Cncer Treatment – National Cancer Institute”. Twenty four more pages of reading to do tonight. Yawn. I am tired. He asked me if I was tired. I had to admit it seems that over the past several months I have been more tired than usual. I just put it down to Oregon gray, rainy, overcast, or just damned dark cloudy skies for the past 5 months as causative. Maybe the real cause is Cancer. yay. (My internal cheerleader is tired. Ergo, the less than enthusiastic excitement of response.)
That I already found this website and most of this document at the same website the Doctor uses feels rather meaningful. Exactly, what that meaning is may yet to be seen. I like the idea that it means I am one damned good researcher. Now, I know there are a few of you out there who sent me links to the websites I already found (sorry to burst any bubbles that you were not the first. Please do not mistake my comments; your concern and intentions are well met and completely appreciated. It is jsut that my zeroing in on exactly what the Doctor provides makes me feel not as dumb as I so often do.)
The upshot is that I will have a semi-permanent port surgically installed in my upper chest. It will be attached to a pump that will be refilled once a week. Simultaneously, I will undergo daily radiation treatments five days a week for about 5 – 6 weeks. And plenty of blood tests, CT scans and whatever else passes for cancer torture, uh, I mean treatment. Then, more decisions will be made as to further course of treatment.
Dr. Look did say the CT scan showed granuloma’s on my lungs. He said this is not at all unusual. Especially, for someone growing up or liviing in high allergen areas. Like St. Louis. I had to get shots every 10 – 14 days for most of my life to prevent and subdue debilitating allergy responses. There is nothing quite like sneezing most hours of the day most of the days of the month throughout all of summer and growing seasons. Living three houses away from a wheat field (Can you say, “MEGA-Pollen!?!”) surely, made my allergies worse. Good thing one of my Mom’s cousins was an M.D. who specialized in allergies. Treating them. Not creating them. Just in case you thought the latter rather than the former might be true. The shots finally worked and I was able to stop them around the time I turned 40.
There also appear to be, “Stones.” What?? “I don’t have any symptoms of kidney or gall bladder stones!” I seemed somewhat indignant at this. I am not sure why. But, I was not at all expecting this. I mean the first surgeon said nothing of the kind. There also appears to be something at one of the screw plate sites in one of my replaced hips. Well, shit. I guess the point of the ultrasound is to rule a lot of this crazy stuff out. Well, of course it is. There were a couple of other things but, I can’t recall them now. It’s even later than when I started writing this tonight.
Dr. Look walked me downstairs to make the initial Radiation I meet you, you meet me appointment. Then, I got to go upstairs (where this began) to get blood drawn. Not one vial. Not two vials. Not three vials. FOUR vials of blood. The phlebotomist just kept filling them up then, replacing it with another vial. Two seems to be the norm. Even three is pretty unusual. But, FOUR!!!?!?!?! I had to ask her how many more she intended to take. Then, she rattled of the various types of tests, starting with CBC, Hepatitis, blah, blah, blah, blah…
Also, not exactly sure how the chemo will affect my already compromised liver. He seemed to think it should not be a big problem. Though, liver function studies were included in the blood tests to be done, as I piece it together.
As my Brother said about the insurance, “Fuck it. Go bankrupt if you have to. Just get the best possible treatment you can.”
This may only be round 1. Or it may be round 1 and done. I don’t know yet.
As I know, you will know.