We're going into high gear this week.
Don and I saw Dr. M (do you see a pattern here?) today. Her plan for treatment matched up with what we have been told is the best treatment for my type of cancer. We felt like this was going to be the main indicator of whether or not to proceed with her. Again, we really did not feel we had time to wait for MD Anderson to get us in (although we played phone tag with the scheduler there today).
Dr. M said it is difficult to "stage" blood cancers, but based on the size of my tumor (which is now considered "bulky" because it is greater than 10 cm in size) and the fact that it is invading surround tissue (namely, my heart), she is calling it stage 4.
SO, this is the plan:
Tomorrow (Tuesday), I go in for an echocardiogram (ultrasound of my heart). In the afternoon, I will meet with the surgeon who will put in the port for my chemo. This is basically an under-the-skin IV that should point straight at my tumor or pretty close. So when I have chemo, they don't have to start an IV every time.
Wednesday, I will have the port put in during some sort of outpatient procedure with the above mentioned surgeon.
Thursday, I get my first "round" of chemo. It should take all day. And, they will send me home with one drug on a pump for 24 hours. This particular drug is hard on your heart, so they give it really slowly to (hopefully) lessen the effect.
The long-term plan is for 6 to 8 rounds of chemo followed by radiation (not sure how many of those). Generally, in my type of cancer, the tumor is gone after 3 to 4 rounds. (It grows fast. It dies fast.)
According to the nurse today I should not feel too bad until NEXT week. We are hoping this is true because we still have some sorting and adjusting to do in our lives.
Thank you to all of you who have volunteered to help. We are working on a plan. I will get back to you on that one - hopefully in the next few days.
Fountain of Joy
19 hours ago