Wednesday, December 12, 2012

First Meeting with Oncologist

Given that this is a new experience for me, I didn't really have a preference as far as oncologists go so I simply accepted the recommendation of the ENT doctor. I figured it'd at least be a starting point and if the guy turned out to be a tool, I'd do a bit more research and try to actually select someone.

Julie went with me to the first meeting and as it turns out, he was pretty cool.  It seems like a lot of doctors don't really listen to you as a patient and just talk at you and I expected that even more from an oncologist but he was very accomodating and easy to talk to. He respected the research I'd already done and confirmed most of what I'd already read in that the treament plan for Hodgkin's is pretty standard and that it is highly curable. He also mentioned that there is no known definite cause for this one. It's not hereditary and usually just chalked up to bad luck. I'm not convinced my swims in the Housatonic River/Letterkenny "rad-ass" days early on in my Weston career didn't play a contributing factor.

Contrary to what the ENT had told me, we cannot tell what stage it was in simply from the biopsy results. We still need to perform a PET scan to get that information and also a bone marrow biopsy just to make sure it had not spread there.  The PET scan doesn't sound too bad but the bone marrow biopsy will involve shoving a large gauge needle through my hip bone to extract some marrow.

With all the holidays coming up, people tend to leave Alaska to visit family, Mexico, or Hawaii so most of it is going to have to wait until after the new year.  Treatment cannot be started until the scan and biopsy are performed so that we have a baseline.  I will also need to have a chemo port surgically implanted in my chest.  That one I did not come across in my research.  Since it will be 4-6 months of chemo and chemo tends to be rough on the veins in the arms, they prefer to implant a port that has a line running into the jugular for more efficient delivery of poison chemo into my system.  Sounds...interesting? I figured that'd be the end of my hockey playing for a few months but he indicated that it shouldn't be an issue. Once it's in there and the incision has healed, I should be able to do everything I normally do. I tend to be tough on gear so I figure I'll break it at least once.

The other good news was that I would be able to work during the treatment process. Apparently the chemo used to treat Hodgkins is of the "less toxic" variety and shouldn't affect my day-to-day activities too much. There may be some days where I'm more worn down the others but nothing major and no hair or significant weight loss. This is good news because I'll be starting a new job with Conoco Phillips (Big Oil!) come the start of the new year but I must admit I was a bit disappointed about the whole weight loss thing. If nothing else was to be gained from this experience, I was at least hoping I'd have license to unlimited cheesesteaks to combat the expected weight loss.  No such luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment