Here I am … waiting on my treatment drugs to be prepared. For those who don’t know, it takes about an hour, barring no problems, for the pharmacy to prepare the drugs. For my treatments, it also takes an hour to drip.
So, here’s the process:
- arrive at the hospital, preferably 15 minutes or so before 1st appointment. The first appointment is for blood draw. This is where my port is accessed and three or 4 vials of blood are drawn.
- Go back to the waiting room for 45 minutes or an hour. During this time, the lab analyzes the blood.
- Go in to see the doctor. This visit usually doesn’t last too long because I am fortunate enough to always have perfect blood test results. This is also when vitals are taken: blood pressure (like a teenager’s), oxygen (97 up to 100), temperature (97 to 98), weight (way too high).
- After seeing the doctor, we return to the waiting room until we are called for the infusion.
- We are set up in a room, saline drip is started, we wait on the pharmacy to get my drugs ready, and we play some more on our electronics.
- Finally, the drug is ready and the count-down begins. One more hour before we get to go home!
I told my husband today that i am tired of coming to get treatments every 2 weeks. He understood. I feel like it takes too much of my time. Then, i have to remember, without this treatment, i would likely not still be alive. So this day we give every two weeks is like dues. The price I pay to be alive. Small price to pay. Never mind my poor attitude.
So, i had another CT scan on Monday. With the trial i am on, CT scans have to be done every six weeks. Way more often than i would like. But, at least i don’t have to worry about how i am doing. Some people wait three to six months between scans, even when they are in active treatment.
There is something called scanxiety. It is the fear cancer patients have about the results of their scans. I never have had it. Not even when i was getting regular chemo and didn’t get so many scans. I am not a worrier. God has control. When He is ready to take me home, my scans will go south. Until then, i expect they will be fine.
Which brings me to … my scans remain fabulous. Dr. Gerber said he wouldn’t pretend everyone has such good results, because they don’t. But, for me, immunotherapy has been, quite literally, a Godsend. My tumors don’t go away, unfortunately, but they have neither grown nor spread since the first treatment i had back in July 2013. Before i started on this clinical trial, i was given very little hope.
I love my doctor! I am so very fortunate. Dr. Gerber is the best! I really loved the oncologist i had before, too, though my memories are growing dimmer as time passes on since i last saw him. And, my PCP … oh my gosh … i can’t even say enough good about her. Like i said, i am one extremely lucky lady.
I love UTSW. The entire facility. Based on my personal experiences, every member of the staff, from the ladies who check us in, to the aides who bring us to our rooms, to the nurses, to the doctors is excellent. Upbeat. Smiling. Friendly. Fabulous. (Anyone have a thesaurus? I think i need a different word … i keep using this one)
Anyway, back to today’s story…
We go in to see the doctor. He calls me a superstar. It’s because my scans were so good again (the only way they would be better is if the tumors would go away. There are some radiologists who do believe the tumors are only scars, but we don’t know. I personally tend to agree. I don’t feel sick or look sick or act sick…) I know an oncologist loves having a patient like me. I am all but healthy. I am hope.
My wonderful, personable doctor asks me about my dogs. Anyone who knows me knows how important my dogs are to me. Dr. Gerber is a very busy doctor, but he has taken time to watch and enjoy my agility videos. And, today, he proudly told us about his new dog! He has rescued a 6 year Australian shepherd and he is very obviously quite taken by his Maggie! It was so much fun listening to him telling us how smart she is and what a good catcher she is!
It leaves me feeling happy and fulfilled to have medical personnel with whom we can chat. Not just about health, but about other interests as well. It sure makes these every 2 week visits a lot more palatable!