My parents and I walked into the appointment with the chemo doctor at 9:00 o’clock in the morning, on Christmas Eve. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was also the youngest person in the clinic, pretty sure my mom was the second youngest, and my dad in a close race for third. At any rate, I first saw the nurse, then the resident, and finally my doctor. The nurse took my weight and blood pressure and all the typical measurements. After chatting for a few minutes she left. Then, the resident came in and he presented the regimen that would be administered to me, along with the laundry list of possible side-effects. I really wish I could keep everyone from ever having to have that conversation. Hey, that’s why the work Hunter Biomedical Group is doing is so important!
Anyhow, I was going to be taking three different chemotherapy drugs (Leucovorin, 5-Fluorouracil, and Oxiliplatin). The first order of business was to have a port surgically inserted in my chest because the chemo drugs are notoriously hard on the veins in the arm. They planned for me to have one treatment every other week for 24 weeks (I am supposed to graduate from the Crosby MBA program at Mizzou in 24 weeks). I will go in on Tuesdays and receive treatment and I will take home a pump with the 5-Fluorouracil that continues the treatment for 46 more hours. I go back in to get the pump unhooked and the port de-accessed until the next time once the pump is done.
Going forward, the medical team decided that they will assess how well the tumor is responding to the chemo after four or five treatments. Tentatively, they would perform the surgery to remove the tumor around that time and finish the remaining treatments afterwards.
Yikes, this was a lot to process. My parents and I asked as many of the questions we could think of, despite our deer-in-the-headlights facade. Additionally, if you ever are involved in this type of situation, I highly recommend writing down as many questions as you can, both before going to the doctor and after. You never know how you are going to react to a situation until you are directly in it, but I assure you that the wow-factor is incredibly high in these types of conversations. Just my two cents.
So, off to celebrate Christmas Eve we went! I tried as much as I could to put things in the back of my mind and focus on enjoying having my brother home from California for Christmas. I had a fantastic Christmas, one of the best I can remember. I’ve never had a bad one either. I hope my family feels the same way. We played lots of games, ate lots of food (at least they did), opened lots of presents, and shared lots of laughs. They won’t admit it, but I won every game.
After Christmas was over, I began to get nervous about what chemo would be like. Every one you ask who has experienced it, and every doctor says it changes from person to person. Sweet, no help. I just decided to think that since I was young and fairly healthy (besides this whole cancer thing), I would be able to get through chemo, finish my degree, and be able to spend considerable time with the start up just fine. That remains to be seen.