Yesterday was Chemo Treatment # 3 of 6, and today's Radiation Treatment was #12 of 28, so I am, more or less, half way through this. Prior to Chemo yesterday, Betty and I (and she's with me every step of the way!) met with the oncologist, who is "the quarterback of the team", and he said that I am doing very well. That's encouraging of course, but he's referring to my tolerating the treatment and not having too many side effects, but this does not address the outcomes, which is of course the crux of the matter: is this working?
About ten weeks or so after the end of this treatment regiment, they'll do some more testing to see what has/not been accomplished and then, if necessary (and apparently it is necessary more often than not), determine next steps. Surgery is out, as far as I am concerned and it has NOT been recommended, as the procedure itself is life-changing and offers essentially no benefit, so why would I opt for that? Radiation is out as well, since I will have had my 28 treatments. There are more Chemo options, and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, if necessary.
I'm managing my expectations and pacing myself, while doing what I can to live my normal life. For example, I have gone back to the gym three times a week, but only doing lower body and that low and slow. I have a port in my upper chest with tubing into my neck, so I will need to be mindful of that before doing any strenuous upper body workouts; the port is usually kept, I'm told, a couple of years, which I can handle. Again, I'm doing everything I can to have a happy outcome and leaving the outcome to Divine Providence.
I’m still in awe with the team approach at Mercy Hospital here in STL, but there are so many links in the chain that weak ones stand out, especially when there is so much excellence elsewhere. One of the young women in the lab (I have blood work done weekly) yesterday called me "Dear", so I called her "Sweetheart", which she didn't much care for, but maybe she'll think twice before condescending. Sure, likely there are many of her patients who might welcome such informal address, but Baby Cakes, I am not one of them.
Also, just to make certain, we had a second opinion appointment at Sitemann Cancer Center, and the oncologist there said that they would suggest the same treatment, and good on Mercy for having found this so quickly.