Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Meeting With the Oncologist

Here it is folks...I'll try not to get too long winded!
I'll start off by saying that I like my doctor( Dr. Jahagirdar), and all the folks at the Regions Cancer Care Center seemed really nice! The treatment is pretty much the same treatment I've read about on the blogs of those who recently have gone thru this, so there was nothing new or out of the ordinary. I will have to have radiation also, due to the location of the tumor.
So this is what's going to happen: My chemo will start on Wed., April 8th. I wanted a Wed. so I have the weekend to recover before going back to work. I'll get chemo every other week, for 3 days. The first day of chemo I'll go to Regions and I'll have blood drawn (too make sure everything is ok before they start chemo), meet with the oncologist, get some fluids and IV drugs to help with side effects, and then I'll start the chemo. The whole process takes about 4 hours. I'll come home with a pump (like a fanny pack) that'll continuously give me 1 of the chemo drugs for 46 hours. On the 3rd day (Friday) either a nurse will come to the house to disconnect the pump, or I'll go to Regions to get it disconnected.
After 4 rounds of this (2 months) I'll start radiation for about 5 weeks. During radiation I'll only be getting 1 of the chemo drugs. Radiation doesn't sound like much fun! My bladder and bowels will be irritated and will feel like I have to "go" frequently. Great, just what I need. And there could be permanent damage to the bowels. Hopefully this is rare! I meet with the radiologist next week, so I'll find out more about all of this.
After radiation I'll restart the chemo process for 8 more rounds. The whole chemo/radiation process should take about 7-8 months.
The drug "cocktail" I'll be getting is called Folfox. This is a combo of 3 drugs--5FU, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin. Common side effects are diarrhea, mouth sores, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, decreased blood counts, sensitivity to cold, and tingling, burning and numbess in hands and feet. I was happy to hear hair loss is less common, and if it happens its usually thinning, not total loss. Shonna and her friends apparently talked about buying me colorful scarves, but I may not need them. Thanks anyways for thinking about me!!
The doc said they have drugs that greatly reduce the nausea, and he didn't think the side effects with this regimen were all that bad. We'll see! I have a chemo class next week, and I'll find out more then. I've read about the cold sensitivity and its really extreme. It hurts to drink anything cold (1 guy said it felt like swallowing shards of glass), you can't touch anything cold (have to use gloves to get things out of the freezer), and it even hurts to breath in cold air (like the refrigerated section of the store).
Next Monday I get the Port-A-Cath put in. This is a port that will go under my skin in the front shoulder area and stay there until I'm done with chemo. This is how they draw blood and give the chemo drugs. I think I'll have an IV also the first day of each cycle.
Next Thurs. I meet with the radiologist and have my chemo class.
The following Tues. I meet with a genetic counselor. Dr. J wants to do genetic testing on my tumor. It may tell me whether or not this runs in the family, or am I just an oddball. :-P
Then I'm back to work the Thurs. after that (April 2nd). So much for getting lots of rest!
So, this morning I woke up saying to myself over and over "This is really gonna suck". Then I read some e-mails and messages I've gotten, and that lifted my spirits. If I look at it as only being 8 months out of my life, then that doesn't seem so bad. By this time next year I should be cancer free, and getting ready for my daughter's May wedding! Oh my, there will be a June graduation too! My baby will be done with high school!! My family is my life, and they are what's going to get me thru this.
I thank God that He is with me thru all this, carrying me when the going gets tough. And I thank Him that I have such a wonderful husband, daughters, family and friends. Please continue to pray for me, and I am asking God to heap blessings on each and everyone of you!
Love ya all!
ps this was enough info for one day...if I think of anything else I'll write it tomorrow. If you have any questions post a comment or e-mail me and I'll be happy to try and answer!


  1. This might be one of those times where you only think about life ONE DAY AT A TIME. Otherwise it surely could get to be overwhelming. Hang in there. I love you and am praying for you. :-)

    P.S. No doubt you are an oddball and soon you will have the papers to PROVE it!

  2. Mouth sores are difficult. Some days you may not be able to brush your teeth because of the sores or nausea so ask if they can give you the special mouth rinse (I forget what it's called).

    I started off with Compazine for nausea but it didn't work. Then went to Ativan which helped quite a bit.

    Get used to drinking room temp liquids or drinks that can be nuked like tea and coffee. Don't try to drink anything cold and no sodas out of the can. Pour into a glass and let come to room temp or nuke it. Actually I couldn't even do sodas the whole time on chemo.

    Yes, setting goals as to what your future life will be like after cancer is great! I wanted nothing more than to be able to see my oldest son get married. The wedding is fast approaching! July 11, 2009! Yeah!

    Also, chemo worked so well for me that I didn't need radiation. I am praying that will be the case with you, as well!

    Your right shoulder will be somewhat sore and a bit numb for a few days after surgery. That will go away.

    I will be saying prayers throughout your treatment. Hugs!