Dr. Quevedo was surprised that we had traveled all the way to Rochester when we only live 30 minutes from Scottsdale Mayo, and we explained that we were still waiting to be seen there. To make a long story short he told us that we could begin a Chemo cycle if we'd like to stay here in MN on Tuesday, with the hope that we'd be able to get in to Scottsdale for the 2nd cycle. A cycle of chemo is administered ever 2 weeks or so until the cancer is gone or my body starts being unable to take the side effects.
This decision, whether to stay here, keep searching out the other facilities, or to wait to start in Scottsdale, was a hard decision for me to make. We had some time to think about it and went back to the hotel to mull it over. Justin went home early on Thursday morning, since we were thinking we'd be heading back to AZ on Friday and he could then get another two days of work in. So he and I discussed our options over the phone. He wanted to be here when I started, and we weren't sure that we wanted to start here because as mentioned before once you start treatment somewhere your odds of getting in at another facility go down dramatically. The chemo I'd be started on is a 'standard protocol' of sorts, and we were hoping to get to participate in some clinical trials for very promising new techniques that I won't go into here. There were no openings for these trials, and so we only had this one option...which is by no means 'bad', just not exactly what we were hoping for.
While we were back at the hotel, Dr. Quevedo called and asked me if I wanted to come back to the hospital to meet a patient who was currently on the same chemo treatments that he had recommended for me. We jumped at the chance and went right away.
When we got back to the Hospital we were introduced to Debbie and her sister Patty. Debbie also had/has colon cancer that has metastasized to her liver. She had already had surgery to remove the portion of her colon affected back in April, and was on her 4th chemo cycle. During our meeting with him earlier the doctor had gone over the risks of chemo, and I admit that hearing them made me anxious/scared and a host of other emotions all wrapped up in one. But meeting Debbie was exactly what I needed to get over those fears and be ready to move forward. She greeted us with hugs, it's funny how you feel connected to someone who is experiencing something so personal, just like you are. She was so perky and energetic, not at all what I pictured someone on chemo as being. She shared what side effects had manifested with her, but that they were all manageable, and she was able to carry on quite normally with her day to day life. She even still had her hair! :)
My dad spoke with Dr. Quevedo and had a few more questions answered that we were concerned about and now we're ready to move forward!!
So....I'm more nervous for this part of the chemo prep than the chemo itself...
Yikes! This is a "portacath". We first learned about this during the meeting with the surgeon on Wednesday, and I had a small mis understanding about what exactly it entailed. I've told my family all along that while I hate having IV's, blood drawn etc, that I would be fine as long as I never had to have anything like that in my neck... well when the surgeon described this all I heard was "Catheter in my neck" and nothing else really registered from that point forward. I'll be asleep during this procedure (for the better of all involved!!). I now understand that it is a catheter and a 'pump' about the size of a quarter that will be implanted under my skin in my chest and the line will run to my jugular vein where its much better for the chemo drugs to be administered this way. Like any surgery there are risks involved, and I'm not going to list them here...but if you'd like to pray for something specific pray for me to be at ease for this procedure on Monday :) Debbie showed me her portacath, but hers was not implanted beneath her skin, hers was a large thing that stuck out...I'm not sure which I'd rather have, but I don't really have a choice!!
So this is the exciting news for this update...I'll get the portacath put in on Monday, it's a quick 30 minute procedure or so, then on Tuesday start the chemo. It will take approximately 40 hours for the chemo to 'drip' into me, then I'll be able to come home whenever I feel up to it. Possibly as early as Thursday!
So, I have to admit that initially on Friday after the meeting I was feeling kind of discouraged after the meeting, mostly because I was not looking forward to making the decision. When we were walking to the car, I was noticing all of the sick children walking past me and I started to feel so guilty for wallowing in my pity. My situation seems to pale in comparison to many of theirs, yet they are SO happy, cheerful and smiling. I know it seems like I'm young to be going through what I am, but then again I'm not at all when I look at these little guys. If they can smile through it, so can I!! One thing that Debbie said to me (she and her sister were exceptionally happy people) I don't think I'll forget. It's something that I've thought before, but again hearing it from someone who knows because they are 'in my shoes' so to speak means more. She said, "You know this is just a blip on your life's journey, so treat it that way. It will be over soon enough, and you don't want to look back and wish you'd been happier etc." She's right!
Yesterday was a great day, THANK YOU all for your prayers!!