Monday, November 3, 2008

The oncologist visit

At one point of my visit, we had quite the crowded room-the surgeon and her nurse-practitioner, the oncologist-nurse practitioner, the social worker, Steve and myself. The surgeon said my case was reviewed today by the tumor review board and it was agreed, no more surgery even if I am full of calcs. The social worker was on hand in case I have 'issues'. The oncologist-NP went over my stats -this time using the numbers for the tumor size 3.1-5 cm. I said, wait-Dr. Diehl used the 2-3 cm category. Well one of your tumor's 3 and the other is 1 cm so we put you in this category. So with this new big tumor size, 50% chance of survival without chemo-72% with chemo. I guess they were trying to show how much more important chemo is for us big tumor people. She went over all the protocols and all the research programs. They want to enroll me in a 'chemo brain' study to quantitate the damage chemo does to my mind. Then later, a drug will be given to me to prevent bone mets. Eventually the oncologist came in, N. Lynn Henry, who is both a pHD and MD. I had 3 protocols to choose from: Ultrahigh dose Adriamycin for 12 weeks-no thanks. 4x2 week cycles of AC followed by 4x2 week taxol or 12 x2 week C+taxol. I said I wanted the one without the Adriamycin. She said she didn't think it would be nearly as effective and heart problems are seen less than 1% of the time and usually to people in much worse health than me. She said that triple negative cancer responds much better to chemo than the estrogen type. Also, if it doesn't reoccur after 5 years, I am home-free whereas the estrogen cancer can come back 10-15 years later. Anyway, she was very positive and perky and willing to listen to me. For now, I will do the 'usual' protocol starting Dec. 2. Barring no problems, I'll be finished mid-March with chemo and the end of April with radiation. It will be a long time until spring. I need a flu shot, another mammogram and some complicated heart function test (a MUGA).
I got a prescription for a 'cranial prosthesis' aka a wig. My hair is due to fall out in the 3rd week of therapy-just in time for X-mas. At any rate, except for some tests, I am free for the next few weeks.

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