Monday, July 28, 2008

Open Road

There is so much to be communicated. So many things have happened this past week. Quite frankly, I am having a difficult time trying to figure out how to compose an abbreviated version of the week and still have my words make sense. Add to that the fact that I am on time release morphine and dilaudid for breakthrough pain. Oh boy. Let's put it this way...I am asking for your patience as you attempt to decipher my words.

First things first. I have been released from the hospital. The doctors at Fairview knew they had to release me with their blessings. It was that or I would have bolted without their consent. That would have turned into undesired stress for all parties involved. I was released Thursday afternoon. There is no diagnosis or medical understanding as to what was causing my symptoms last week. The doctors are just as frustrated as we were. I was stable and gaining strength at the time of my departure.

From the hospital Dick and I went home and I packed for my planned one month stay in Illinois. I packed in record time. Ladies, can you imagine putting together clothing, shoes, lingerie and toiletries in forty-five minutes? I am still questioning how I had the energy and the ability to focus on the task. Before I knew it I was giving Bert, our adorable dog, yet another hug good-bye and we were on our way to Illinois. On schedule!

Dick and I met with the Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at CTCA Friday afternoon. He had an opportunity to review my CT's from the previous Sunday. He was in agreement with the Minneapolis radiologist. My pain is being caused by bone erosion due to cancer on one of my ribs. He advised that he could treat that site. By treating the site they would be killing that part of the bone, thus alleviating the pain. Hurray!

The above information is the same treatment plan that the radiologist in Minneapolis outlined. This is very good. With that, this is where things become very confusing. The doctors at CTCA want to treat the bone as well as zap the tumor that is adjacent to the eroded bone. What? Say that again? You can treat the tumor as well? The doctors answer 'yes'. My thoughts begin to rush. You can see Dick's brain working in the same direction as mine. If you can zap that tumor why can't you zap the others that are in my lung as well? The doctor's answer 'we can'. 'The problem is the cancer growing in other parts of your body.' But doctor...there isn't any other cancer. Just these tumors giving me trouble in my right lung.

When Dick and I left CTCA early Friday evening, we were both of the understanding that the radiation therapy available at this facility has the ability to eradicate the tumors. Can you imagine the gamut of emotions we were feeling at this point? Number one...why wasn't this offered to us by the radiologist in Minneapolis? We're confused.

I return to CTCA Monday for a defined treatment plan. I will be measured, tattooed and have a mold created to protect my chest area during all of my radiation treatments. The length and duration of my treatments will be decided at that time as well. The doctors will also be able to tell me if Dick and I were fantasizing or if we really did hear something as amazing as my tumors being completely treatable.

The Vitamin C treatment that I had planned to begin again is being shelved for the time being. Our focus right now is the radiation and alleviating my pain. We will revisit Vitamin C at a future date.

So gang, we will all be learning about radiation treatments to the lung together. Let's keep our fingers and toes crossed. When the doctor confirms what we think he communicated to us on Friday, I will go into greater detail a story about following ones gut...literally.

Thank you for your prayers and concern this past week. Aside from the effects from the pain meds, I am quickly regaining strength I have not enjoyed in quite some time. I do believe the blood transfusions may be adding a bit of a skip to my step.

As my good grade school friend, Sue, expressed in an email to me earlier this evening....You have MANY angels looking out for you, dear girl! Indeed I do!

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