Friday, January 8, 2016

The first appointment

I'm sure most anyone who is told that they have cancer goes through the same thought process. Denial. Acceptance.  Fear.  Denial again.  More fear.  Ignoring it.
From our house to the Cleveland Clinic, it's a bit of a hike.  Usually about 90 minutes plus in the car.  So on the day of her first appointment we got up early and headed off.  Even the whole way up there, I think we both had the feeling that this isn't going to be anything.  He'll talk about what they found, maybe say "come back in 6 months and we'll check again, etc.".  Wishful thinking that anyone goes through I'm sure.
Arriving at the Clinic early, I made a major screw up with parking and caused a major backup onto E. 100.  We quickly found our way to where we needed to be and let our friend Mandi know we were there as she's employed there and wanted to make sure to be in the loop.  I was amazed just how hustle and bustle goes on at the hospital.  It's not like any I've seen before.  Lots and lots of people moving about in all different directions at once.  We found where we were suppose to be and checked in.
Then the wait.  Wasn't too bad.  They call use back and check Denise in, checking height and weight.  We sat in the consulting room and the nurse started going through a list of questions, normal first visit stuff I'm sure.  After that she left and the anxious wait began.  Luckily it didn't last too long.  Doc M, (for privacy purposes, that will be his name on here), came in.
You know you're getting older when the doctor in younger then you.  Right way we liked the guy.  Positive, nice, energetic.  He started to talk to us about the mass that was removed and all the things that have gone on with us.  He mentioned that he never got a surgery report or biopsy report from our hospital.  Luckily, I had a copy.  He went through that document with a fine tooth comb it seemed like.  Between that report and the biopsy the path was clear to him.  Chemotherapy and no radiation.   That's when we needed to grab the Kleenex box.  To me the best way I could describe hearing that news was that my soul got kicked in the nuts.  But, I had to try to be strong for Denise.  The doctor said that while he feels the surgeon removed every bit of mass, there is a strong likelihood that there could be microscopic cells left behind and if there are, it could come back and go to places like the liver or lungs and he doesn't want to risk it.
My question to the doc was simple, "If we do this, can we kick this things ass?"
"Yes".  A simple, but powerful response.
I like this guy.  He's a fighter for his patients.  He was ready to start the treatments right away, like the week between Christmas and New Years right away.  I made a joke to Denise that we should cancel the New Years Eve party.  Doc heard that and said that we can enjoy our holidays and start right after the new year.  Which was cool so that we could enjoy the holidays.   So the date was set, January 4th would be the start of the treatments.
The 3 week cycle of treatments are as follows:
Week 1 - Gencitabine
Week 2 - Gencitabine and Taxotere
Week 3 - Off (PARTY!)
But before we started all this, he wanted another CAT scan done on her and blood work.  Since it was early, I asked if we could get it done that day and he was able to make it happen to save us another trip up there.  I like this guy.  So that required some running between buildings, but we got it done.  Took longer for the CAT because Denise needed to get pre-hydrated, but we got it done.  It made for a long crazy day, but after we left the hospital, we headed over to lunch on the east side.  After lunch we were driving around and Denise looked at me and said, "You know what, I'm good with this.  I'm okay with what I have to do.  I'm going to do it."  She was really at peace with it.  I couldn't be prouder.  Me on the other hand, that's a different story, but that's for another time.
So the road to wellness was put out before us. The first steps taken.  There's still a lot of road to go.

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