WARNING: LONG POST!
Well, what a day! It's going to take some time for all of this to sink in, but the next 6+ months is going to be a lot of medical appointments and quite the road ahead of me. Who would have thunk a pain in the left side could turn into such a production number??
I went to Steve's house at 11am, and after a cup of tea, we went to the Cancer Agency. The first half hour or so was spent filling out forms, forms and more forms. Once those were filled out, we went up to the second floor, where we waited in a waiting room for about 10-15 minutes or so. Nurse Nancy came and got us and took us to a small room that had an examining table and a couple of chairs. She had me fill out
Dr. Sharleen Gill is my primary Oncologist and is she ever nice!! She has a very calming air about her, is friendly, and can talk without breaking into Doctor lingo. I really took to her and am glad that she is going to be a main character in this ongoing journey... and what a journey it is going to be!
Yes, I will be doing the chemo, but then, we all knew this was most likely going to happen. The reason for this... if I don't have the chemo, there's a 60-65% chance the cancer will return. If I do have the chemo, it cuts that risk factor in half and there's only a 30-35% chance the cancer will return. It's kind of a no-brainer... let's go with the better chance that it won't return. I will actually be getting two kinds of chemo:
1) Fluorouracil (other names: 5-Fluorouracil, 5FU, Adrucil)
2) Oxaliplatin (other namesL Eloxatin)
In the next week or two, I will be going to VGH (Vancouver General Hospital) to have a "Porta-Cath" put in. This is a catheter into one of the main veins by the heart, that has a port which will be placed at the collarbone, just under the skin. It will be through this port that the chemo will be injected.
I will be getting 12 treatments of these two Chemo drugs, 1 treatment every 2 weeks for 6 months. This will start 3-4 weeks from now. Dr. Gill wants to give my incision a bit longer to heal because ideally the incision should be healed before I start the chemo. There's only about 2 inches of the incision that has not healed... but it's possible that it may not be healed by then. If not, then she says we'll go ahead with the chemo because it's important that the chemo starts 8-9 weeks after the surgery.
Now... how this will work. I will go to the Cancer Agency on the day of a treatment and will be hooked up (to the port at my collar bone) to one of the chemo drugs for 3 hours. Once that is done, then they will hook up the second drug, and attach a small, portable pump that I can carry in a purse, fanny pack, belt, etc. I can then go home because this pump will regulate the drug over the course of two days. Prior to getting the 3 hour chemo, I will be given anti-nausea meds... and will have them for the days I'm on the pump chemo too.
Ok... but it doesn't stop there. I will be meeting with Dr. Ma on Monday, the Radiation Oncologist. There's a possibility that I will have to have radiation as well. During the surgery, when they were taking out the 24cm of intestine, that included the tumour, they found that the abscess that was created by the tumour was attached to the bladder and stuck to the abdominal wall. Taking it off the bladder was not too much of a problem because they could cut it off (the bladder self-heals), but they could not cut into the abdominal wall. So, they had to peel the abscess off the abdominal wall. Now, by the naked eye, they feel the margins were clear and it came off fine, BUT, one never knows if some microscopic cancer cells may have been left behind and are attached to the abdominal wall. This would not be a good thing to leave them there if that is the case. I'm not sure how the Radiation Oncologist makes the decision... but Dr. Ma will determine whether he recommends that they radiate that part of the abdominal wall, or if he doesn't think it's a high risk, hence no radiation. So, I will find out on Monday if I'll be getting radiation as well as the chemo.
So, tomorrow (Friday), I go in to see my regular GP so he can check my incision and decide whether I need to stay on the antibiotics for another week (staph infection in the open part of the incision) and we can talk about my treatment plan that is coming up. After that appt. with Dr. Fay, I'll be coming home, because Greg T. will be coming over later in the afternoon and we are going to go to a movie (Notes on a Scandal) and then go out for dinner.
Saturday, (HO HO HO!) we are having a second family Christmas, since I was in the hospital for Christmas. So the whole family, extended and otherwise, is going to be there -- Dad, Erin, Don, Rod, Karrie, Pat, Jerry, Michael, Jeffrey and their girlfriends, Helen, Meghan... and possibly Theresa. Full house... turkey dinner!!! (grin)
Sunday, I join Mimi, Nathan, Babs, Mitsuo, Tamara and Dave for dinner because we are celebrating Mimi's birthday.
Then Monday I see Dr. Ma about the possibility of Radiation and on Tuesday, Jo, Steve and I go to Chemo School for an hour or so (grin). Don't ask me! I have no idea what we will learn in Chemo school or if there will be a quizz... but the three of us will be going so they can hit me over the head if I forget something!
There, I think I've covered everything... after we were finished at the Oncologist appt., Jo went back to work at the Children's Hospital and Steve and I went back to his place and watched Oprah. She did a special on "The Secret" which, if any one reading this has not seen that DVD, try to get your hands on a copy. It's brilliant and all about how positive thinking and changing the way you form your thoughts can bring you anything you want. I won't go into a lecture here, but suffice it to say, my friends and I all LOVE The Secret and are trying to live our lives with this way of thinking and living. Oprah's show on it was great!
I am now home and have the first episode of Survivor on... but I'm really waiting for Grey's Anatomy!! That's my favourite show, so must see it!
Ciao for now!