Thursday, June 24, 2010


So I met with the oncologist today. Actually I don't know if it's *the* oncologist, this was just the first doc that could fit me in on 24 hours notice. I may have another, long-term.

Going into an Oncologist's office is a bit of a downer, as you might imagine. People are pale, quiet, tired-looking. No doctor's office is a happy place, but this is downright moribund. You can tell that the staff are pretty numb to serious illnesses, since that's all they see all day, every day. Tell them you have pain, nauseua, bleeding, loss of appetite and they'll just make a note of it and wait to see if you're going to list anything else. They've seen it all before. They care, of course: but you won't shock them with this the way you might with your primary care physician.

The place is huge and mazelike. All that Edina has to offer with calming art and many, many treatment rooms. I got lost finding the bathroom, and then again on the way back, and then again on the way out.

So anyhow, the oncologist: he's middle eastern, youngish, quiet. Seems like he's mainly just absorbing information from me at this point. I'll call him Dr. Frodo. Mostly just because its a comforting image rather than from any overt resemblance. He is kinda short, though. And I suspect that he may have hairy feet.

We asked all of our questions and had them answered. How much chemotherapy? (4 rounds: 2 weeks on, 1 week off, treatments to take up to 6 hours each). When would chemotherapy start? (About 2 weeks after the surgery). What drugs would be used? (He told me and my mother wrote it down, but I can't remember - perhaps she can fill in the blanks here). Will I lose my hair? (most likely yes, with this type of chemotherapy). Will I have enough energy to work? (Maybe, it depends largely on how nauseated I am during the chemotherapy: anti-nausea drugs can wipe you out). What stage am I at? ("at least stage II, we'll know more after the surgery"). Will there be a PET scan? (Yes, if insurance covers it). When should the surgery be? (Within a few weeks, though a few weeks more won't make a huge difference).

So: surgery within a few weeks, recover for a few weeks, then about 3 months of chemotherapy. Best scenario, that's the end of it except for checks and scans for 5 years or more. It sucks, but is doable.

I got some cool brochures and numbers of financial and support people.

Lots of stuff to look through. Another tiring day but at least there's really only one more appointment (at Mayo on Monday) before I get in to the Decision Making phase.

Oh, and the cost of my Mayo deposit has been covered, now. This was surprising and huge. Thanks so much, K and C. I truly appreciate it. You are amazing.


Eclector2 said...

The drugs he suggested were cisplatin (see link: and gemcitabine (see link:

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