Friday with #5

I'm what I would call freelancing right now with oncologists.

I have my favorite, but she's about an hour away. I see one in the same hospital system closer to home, and he has (I think) warmed up to me. Just when we're settling in and he's realized that my cancer is indeed very stable and slow growing, he changes days at my clinic. And it's not that I can't change clinics with him, I just don't want to.

A view from the chair.
I'm currently at a new facility with private rooms and sweet nurses. If I followed him to the other clinic on my treatment day, it would mean an open infusion room, horrible decor, and bad color schemes. I've only been there on 2 occasions, and the color scheme alone makes me never want to go back. I'm sure this can be directly blamed for the general moral of the troops at that location. Or so I hear.

I can't stress enough how important and valuable your surroundings are when being infused. Remember I started this journey in a giant bullpen with at least 50 recliners and IV poles sounding alarms every other minute. Now I'm in a semi-private room, with giant windows, lights I can dim, a curtain I can pull, and nurses who work serenely at their station. There is no doubt where my infusion-induced anxiety started. So needless to say, the colors and the chaos of an infusion room matter greatly in my treatment plan.

I'm doing my best to stay at my preferred clinic, and that means seeing another oncologist on a different day. Because my case is so straight forward, I'm fine with this. I was a little more encouraged when my home care nurse came to disconnect me 2 weeks ago and told me that she had not only known this oncologist since his days as a resident, but that he was "absolutely brilliant!" She's been an oncology nurse for 30+ years, so I'm going to take that as a stellar endorsement.

So welcome oncologist #5.

#5 and I met before my infusion today to go over scan results, and I broached all the subjects.

Is it time to consider the next drug? He says no. He understands that growth is expected in my case when I'm only on 5-FU. I've got years of maintenance chemo to prove this. And despite my tumors having complete stability with my last scan (no shrinkage, no growth) while on Irinotecan, he said they will wait until there is "substantial change" before they will consider switching me to Erbitux. I tried to make the crack about my "no hair and great skin, or hair and bad skin," but I think it was lost in translation. #chemogirlproblems

So it's another 3 months of Irinotecan, which should be doable minus a few trips already on the books. Then we shall reassess after my next PET.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I read your earlier post about the “worsening” and dang why don’t doctors use different language!

Glad that your treatment ambiance is improving. That’s quite the view!