Tuesday, May 09, 2006

May 9, 2006 - A Look Ahead

Today I’m looking at my calendar (well, my Palm Treo PDA), reviewing some important dates that are coming up. In the past day or two, I’ve made some appointments for tests and doctor’s visits that will have a major impact on what the next several months of treatment will be like for me.

This coming Monday, May 15th, at Ocean Medical Center, I’m going to have a whole raft of CT scans: of the neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. On the following Wednesday, May 24th, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, I’ll be having another PET scan. The purpose of all these tests is to assess the size of the malignancies, particularly the bulky tumor in my abdomen. The CT scan I had following my third treatment revealed the good news that the tumor had shrunk by 50%. Here’s hoping that rate of progress has continued.

On Tuesday, May 30th, I’ll scoop up the films and reports from all those tests and make another trip to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. There I’ll have a second-opinion consultation with Dr. Carol Portlock, the internationally-known lymphoma specialist who provided a second opinion at the time of my diagnosis and staging.

The next day, Wednesday, May 31st, I’ll meet again with Dr. Lerner. We’ll discuss Dr. Portlock’s recommendations, and I’ll learn more details about the radiation treatments that will probably begin soon after. Dr. Lerner has estimated, based on his experience with other patients, that I’ll probably receive these five days a week for four or five weeks (each treatment, he tells me, takes mere minutes, and is something like going for an x-ray). He’ll be referring me to a radiation oncologist – probably Dr. Nathan Kaufman of Ocean Medical Center – who will work out the particulars of my treatments under Dr. Lerner’s overall direction.

Ever since January 18th, the day of my first chemo treatment, I’ve been doggedly shuffling through repeated three-week cycles of the R-CHOP chemotherapy regimen. It’s given my life a certain grim predictability: one lap after another, a slow-motion walk around the oval racecourse. Now, at last, the end of my sixth and final lap is in sight. My treatment journey will continue, but not on this particular track. The tests and medical appointments of the next few weeks will reveal when and where the next phase of my treatment journey will take place – and even what sort of journey it will be.


Anonymous said...

Hard to believe six treatments are actually over! Praying for good CT and PET results -

KCalla - in Alaska said...

Praying for good results too!!