Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Wait is OVER!!

Wayne and I met with the Oncologist today. Interestingly enough, the building that houses the Oncologist is very nondescript. I have probably driven past it a few hundred times and never even realized it was there. It was also nothing fancy. It more reminded me of going into a public health office than a cancer treatment center.

Upon walking in, the very first thing I see is the treatment room. Inside this room were women, heads wrapped in scarves, sitting in leather recylners hooked to IV machines. I immediately have to gulp back the tears that have sprang to the surface.

There was no wait. I had not even as much completed the first sheet of paper and the nurse was taking us back to the doctors office. The doctor was in the room faster than I could even have thought possible. 

The Doctor, once this man started talking, he won both my husband and myself over! He took so much time to explain what I have, what I need to do, how we are going to do it, and complications I can expect. He took his time and he was so thorough.

The Good News: Hodgkins has a very high success rate, I believe he said stage 1 is 93% to 98% successful. Stage 2 Hodgkins only has a 5% less success rate (88% to 93%). He as well as I believe I will be staged at a 2, which means I have cancer in 2 areas of my body on the same side of the diaphram. 

Other Good News: Of all the patience that have had Hodgkins one subgroup responds the best to treatment. That subgroup is WOMEN who present with a RIGHT SIDE mass. (exactly what I have!!)

Bad News: I have to do 3-4 rounds of Chemotherapy. I have to get fully staged. Diagnostic testing that needs to be completed includes a BILATERAL BONE MARROW TEST. That means not only are they going to stick one gigantic needle in my hip, they are going to do it twice on both sides of my hip! I also have to have a PET CT SCAN. This is a test that looks for Metobolic Energy in the body. I also have to have BLOOD WORK. Chemo can apparently be very bad for the heart. So in addition to all the other testing, I have to have a MUGA, heart scan.

All of my chemo treatments will be administered through a Catheter, which has to be surgically implanted in my chest.  So I also have to have a SURIGICAL CONSULT. It sounds like I will walk around for 48 hours having chemo pumped into my body through this Catheter.

After my 3-4 rounds of Chemo (which is 6-8 individual injections of Chemo), I will also have to undergo Radiation treatments to "clean it all up" as the Doctor said. He also said I will lose my hair.

Other Good News. After as much waiting as I have done (a week here, a week there) I went in thinking it would take weeks to get all the diagnostic testing done. I have even told some of you that I did not expect to be doing treatments until the end of September/the first of October.  But, the scheduling nurse at the office told me they were going to "rock and roll me through". And OMG did she ever!!

On Monday (THIS COMING Monday, 8/16) I have to report to the hospital at 8:30 for my Blood Work, MUGA, and the Bone Marrow test. On Tuesday I have to report to the hospital at 6:15 for the CT-PET (which by the way, is in the back of a semi truck) and at 2:00 to meet with the surgeon. And although it is not scheduled yet, I will also have to have another surgery next week to insert the Catheter. I am scheduled to start Chemotherapy on August 23.

As I was standing at the scheduling window (that is right, STANDING for nearly 45 mintues. I told you this looks more like a public health department than a fancy doctors office) all I could think of was "SHIT!" this is really happening.  And despite how slow the first stage of this journey was, the second phase is happening at turbo speed.  Ready or not, I am about to become a Chemo Patient.


  1. Pam,

    If you ever need ANYTHING you know we are only a phone call away. I am off during the day and will gladly help out if needed (I don't mow lawns though). If Wayne can't get off work to take you somewhere give me a call. My mom has also offered her services and knows what you are going through. My mom was also very pleased that you and her have the same Oncologist, who she can only describe as awesome. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


  2. Pam, If your Dr. is in the Heartland Hematology Oncology Associates group you are in excellent hands. Your description of the office sounded like it. Location is on Vivion Road. Cliff's Dr. is in that group. Cliff says hi and we are both praying.

    Love ya,

  3. Thank you Joe and Betty! Yes, I am being treated at Heartland. I am seeing Dr. Hubbard in that group. I was originally referred to see Dr. Rigdon but she did not have the first available appointment, Dr. Hubbard did. I have heard nothing but excellent things about them all.

  4. Pam - You are in my prayers. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help and/or if you need anything at all. I will keep reading your blog. Hang in there girl friend. You will be all better before you know it.

  5. Wow!! What a great description of your oncologist. I knew exactly who you were talking about before you mentioned his name. Saw him this weekend. He is really awesome!!!!