Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hurry up and Wait

Well, here we are, into another week, with more tests, doctor appointments, decisions to make, and still with the certainty that deadly cancer is present, but not yet being fought with all the tools available.

Deb and I kept the scheduled appointment with Dr. Weyburn today. He is the oncologist recommended by Dr. Compagnoni, Deb's surgeon. He is a dapper guy, probably in his late thirties, well dressed, but without exuding the compassion of Dr. Compagnoni. He spoke with us for a while after Deb completed paper work for his office that was about the same thickness of the Chicago Yellow Pages.

He asked what we had discovered about breast cancer and the various treatment plans and we shared some of the Internet stuff we've read and what friends had shared with us. He was very pleasant to speak with and examined Deb and reviewed the tests and the medical options we've previously discussed with Dr. C.

He recommended that we proceed with a medi port device that's installed below the skin in the chest. It connects with a large vein and facilitates the flow of the chemical cocktail into the body. It would be implanted as a out patient surgical procedure by Dr. C., so we would have to make another appointment with her to have that done.

His second recommendation is that Deb have a echo cardiogram to make sure her heart is in good shape as some of the chemicals can stress the heart muscle. He didn't suspect a problem, but wanted to check anyway. Deb was able to schedule that for Thursday after the liver ultrasound and the meeting with Dr. Weyburn's staff.

Deb decided to start chemo next Thursday, May 3rd. It will be on a three week cycle for four times. So, she will have two hours of chemo on 5/3, 5/24, 6/14 and 7/5. Today she got the I Pod I ordered, so she can listen to music, watch a movie or a TV show during the chemo session. During this time she will be constantly monitored for her general health, her heart and her white blood cell count. Her beginning drugs would include adriamycin with cytoxan. She will probably loose her hair, but then she will look more like me (a good thing?). She would probably have one or two months of taxol after the initial sessions.

Dr. Weyburn explained that she will probably feel well for a day or two after chemo is administered then may get very tired for a day or two. Her greatest risk of being around people and catching something is between the seventh and fourteenth day after chemo.

Dr. Weyburn also wants to have Deb and I visit his staff nurse practitioner to discuss the chemicals being used and go over the procedure used on days when chemo is administered. Deb and I will go to that together and see the area and equipment used. Dr. Weyburn also suggested that someone be with Deb when chemo is given and when the medi port is installed.

Deb has a liver ultra sound this Thursday and the appointment with Dr. Weyburn's nurse after that. My impression is that this treatment is the standard care associated with this type of tumor and there are predictable results. Dr. Weyburn will submit a treatment plan to Blue Cross for approval.

There may be an option to take Sebastian to the east coast as we planned, as the timing would be right, but we have to decide if Deb would be up to it, as we can't really turn Sebastion loose in Washington DC or NYC alone. We've been struggling with that as all three of us had planned for some time to take this trip. We sent information to CCI (His exchange group) and his parents about Deb's issues. We know he could go home early, but it would be great to take him east. He has been the best kid you could ask for, and as someone who never had a son, I know ordering one would turn out to be an awful lot like him.

So here it is at last, the last few details. It makes me wonder why we cling to plans we've made for our lives.

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Joseph Campbell quotes (American prolific Author, Editor, Philosopher and Teacher, 1904-1987)

Deb is the perfect patient, focused, willing to listen, knowing that something may and probably will go wrong, but it will be OK.

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Deb continues to get cards from friends, co workers and family. The one from our granddaughter Quinn brought a few tears, it was so cute. The prayers and love lift her up to a serenity she could not have without the grace of God and good friends.


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