Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Actual Cancer Patient

Note to self: Remember to take the $2.99
price tag off your new Buddha statue...
It occurred to me that before becoming one myself, I had never seen someone on chemotherapy except in a movie. They usually look like they're about to die, and they usually do.

I talked to Candradasa and Trebor today on the phone which was great. (Except that these days phones aren't that good for actually hearing someone talk!) C. is heading for the UK soon for work, and T. for a sabbatical in Berlin.

Dr. Kleckner, medical oncologist and director of thesecondopinion.org, called this morning. So went my second second opinion. As last time with Dr. Brooks, he said I am getting the standard treatment considering the rarity of my condition (type and location.) I didn't get much new info.

Some notes from our conversation:
  1. "You have good doctors." Didn't think there was obvious benefit in meeting with a panel. Would be different if there was a question of something done incorrectly, or if I were missing some options, or wanted to try something experimental.
  2. The likely way forward after PET scan in August would be to continue with current chemo if nodules have gotten smaller, or stayed the same. If they have gotten bigger, could try a different chemo. Scans pick up anything bigger than 1/2 centimeter, so there's always the possibility that  smaller stuff is there and not being detected. 
  3. Doesn't know of any experts. He said I could ask Dr. Littell (who himself  might be as close as we will get to an expert.)  
  4. A big aspect of cancer treatment is finding a treatment that the patient can tolerate. So that's part of what's being checked out for me right now. 
He also commented on what a good attitude I have. What are the other people like that he talks to? I have no idea.

Line outside Social Security around the corner
I got my award letter today for disability which will start in August, so that I will not worry about being a burden on anyone. It's less than what I was making working for the Center, which was very little...still it is a great relief. 

So the far pattern seems to be that I feel all right in the mornings, positively energetic even, then progressive crash after that. This evening on a walk with Padmatara, everything surreal, the blooming plants, the architecture, the Led Zeppelin song blasting from a parked car...

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