Friday, June 18, 2004

My first oncologist appointment


Actually, 90% of it wasn't that bad. My doctor talks just like Dr Kovich from ER. Not quite as hot as Dr Kovich, but for some reason, the accent was a bit reassuring. Stupid as it sounds, but yeah, hearing the same voice I'm use to on ER was reassuring. :-)

It was mostly just talking about where we go from here. First, staging, which they did some today and some next week. They took about 5 vials of blood. And then they talked about chemo and radiation. The doc seems pretty convinced its going to turn up stage I or II because he couldn't feel any other lymph nodes at all. So thats good. Won't know for sure until I get a PET and CT scan (next week), plus a pulmonary function test and cardiac test. Those last two are to make sure my body can handles the chemo drugs. The scans are to locate any other spots. So, the plan, as of now, is 3 cycles of chemo followed by raditation. Apparently, they have found the a short round of chemo followed by radition has the best sucess rate for no reoccurance (as opposed to chemo or raditiona alone). I need to get a radition oncologist consultation to make sure radiation is a good option for me - something about long term side effects and stuff. If they don't want me to have radiation, it will be at least 6 cycles of chemo. Don't ask me what a cycle of chemo is - I'm sure they told me, but it didn't stick. Its probably in the huge stack of papers I have. The selfish news is that, from what I read, you don't really loose your hair until about the 3rd round of chemo, so if I only have 3, I'll probably keep most of it. :)

Now the 10% that sucked big hairy balls was the bone marrow bioposy. I was really hoping they wouldn't do that. But no, they did. And despite my begging and pleading, they wouldn't give me anything other than the local lidocane. And it took him 4 tries to hit a spot where he could get some out. Lidocane doesn't numb the bone. So he punched 4 holes in my hip bone. I was on my stomach, and apparently that was a good thing, b/c I had enough trouble as it was. Poor Kyle stayed and watched the whole thing, including the 6'4" doctor leaning and pushing with all his might to get the needle through my bone. On the 4th try, I screamed out "HOLY BLEEPING BLEEP" (without the bleeps, my parents have this link now - LOL), and the doc was like "Sounds like I found it." Yup, the really painful part meant he finally got the right spot.

The final part was when the insurance lady came and talked to me. She was pretty cool. Just her attitude, the way she talked, and everything made me think "I'm glad she is on MY side b/c I don't want to be on the other side." She's the one that fights with the insurance company when they refuse to pay. She said her job was to make sure they paid what they were supposed to, and I didn't have to. For example, that PET scan thing is about $3000. They have a new combo scan where they do the PET and CT together. My insurance company doesn't like new technology until its proven, so they won't pay for the PET/CT Fusion scan. They'll pay for a PET, and they'll pay for a CT, but not the PET/CT. So, she is going to figure out how to make it so I can get the PET/CT Fusion. Good, cause I don't want to pay $3000!

So anyway, thats a summary of my day. I got home about 2:30 and look a nice nap on the couch. I have a bunch of paperwork to read, probably some online research to do, and all that stuff. But honestly, today, I'm not in the mood. I have all weekend. I'll call the other places Monday and start making appointments.

And now, Kyle has promised me a prime rib from Outback. So I think its dinner time!


Blogger JustaGirl said...

Stay strong! You are so right that this is one of the most curable cancers. My BF's dad had it and he has been in the clear for several years now!

Good luck!

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The boss - Hope - sounds to me like you're tracking a very typical trajectory. All of the tests you've mentioned are SOP. I went 6 cycles on a protocol called ABVD - a pretty common cocktail. It's usually 2 infusion sessions per cycle. Timing depends on individual case. I had a min of 4 nodes. Was well past any help that radiation could do as there were too many locations to radiate. I was a III/B. My thinking is the BMB is the worst part of the whole deal. It's all down hill from here. You'll be back 100% in no time. We'll celebrate your last treatment. Giffords? Hang in there. We're thinking about you.

4:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just remember we're all here for you...whenever -Raz

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We love you Hopie! Don't hesitate to call. But, if you get to pet otters, can I come with you? I'm here for anything and everything! Who knows maybe you'll get a ring out of all this. :o)

3:36 PM  

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