Perhaps some of you have noticed that I went a little radio silent on the 2nd biopsy results — or didn’t realize that my big benign announcement was only for the 1st biopsy.
Let’s just go ahead and pull the band-aid off.
The 2nd biopsy came back malignant.
I start chemotherapy on Friday, March 17. Yeah, that’s four days from now.
We still went on our 2-week trip to Oregon, then came home and started the testing. Week 1 was the CT-guided biopsy. Week 2 results, clear! Week 3, was the endoscopic ultrasound, and we got the preliminary results that the biopsy was malignant.
(sidenote: Technically this was 5 weeks of waiting for test results at various time, and needless to say the emotional toll it took on my was palpable. Depression definitely reared its ugly head, and I can’t thank my psychiatrist and psychologist enough for their guidance during those weeks.)
Of course, I jumped into action, emailing my doctor to essentially say “okay, let’s get something going,” to which I got the reply from his nurse that the results had not hit my chart yet, they have no record of the results and therefore, we would have to wait.
Fucking waiting again. That’s the give and take with the Kaiser machine. You take the good with the bad.
Last Monday, I got confirmation in my inbox (which, by the way GI doc, that’s kind of a shitty way to tell someone, though I shouldn’t be surprised since you were the same guy who told me the preliminary diagnosis while I was in the recovery room still high AF from my sedation drugs.)
I called the oncology nurse and left a message there. I called the appointment center and had them send a message to my oncologist (they have to reply to that system within 24 hours whereas if I email him from my system, they have 48 — I’ve picked up some tricks). And then, out of sheer frustration for not being able to get a live human, I texted my former oncologist a novel letting her know what was going on and if there was any way for her to help. She actually took the time to text the oncology nurse to try to get a response there and then called me to talk about what was going on. (I still love that women and damn Portland for taking her away from me.)
There were a lot of missed calls and back and forth, but ultimately I got an appointment with the doc yesterday, and had a long conversation with the oncology nurse (we might as well just name her — Patti — she gets shit done) the week prior to prep for the talk with the doctor.
So here’s how it’s all going down.
- It will be a 3 week cycle like last time, and 6 rounds, also like last time
- After the 3rd round, we’ll take a scan and see how we’re progressing
- My chemo will in intravenous only, with Day 1 being carboplatin + gemzar, Day 8 being only gemzar, and then a week off. (I’m actually stoked that my days have turned out to be Fridays, because that gives me the weekend to recover and hopefully continue to work.)
- I will not lose my hair. Pretty cool.
My doctor feels very confident that I’ll get back in remission. But if I don’t, that we have an arsenal of treatments to choose from before we get into some of the targeted therapy things.
So, for now, we’ll just see how I handle the first round.
I am again organized with ways you can help. More items will be added soon, I just need to get ready for Friday.