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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Surgeon #2

My brain is full of new information - and tomorrow we have two doctor's appointments. Good thing we get to go to Black Butte for the weekend for a welcome break!

This surgeon is the one who's been recommended by easily half of the people I've talked with. She's  very well-known and respected - and "out-of-network" for us (bummer!) She greeted me with a hug, and also gave me a hug as I left. Warm, smart and amazing.

It's hard to synthesize everything at this point. We're starting to learn some of the lingo and what might be on the path ahead. Some interesting things we learned today:

 - she suggested and we agreed that genetic testing would be helpful. Initially I thought, "Why bother? We don't have kids so..." But it turns out that the gene holding the marker for potential breast cancer (I may not be phrasing this exactly right) is the same gene for pancreatic cancer. And since my aunt died at age 31 with pancreatic cancer, this surgeon thinks it would be smart to know what my genes say so we could be more proactive about screening for that if need be.

 - she also recommends starting some hormonal therapy before surgery to see how the cancer cells respond. If, when they test the tumor after it's excised, they find that some of the cancer cells were killed off because of that, they know that any other cancer cells that may have "escaped" are going to respond in the same way. She's a pioneer in this treatment option and an oncology social worker I spoke to today (who just "happens" to be a long-time acquaintance of mine), said that for awhile, this surgeon was alone in recommending this, so it's not yet standard. It's an intriguing option and one I'll continue to explore.

 - this surgeon also recommended a test that would help us be more definitive as to whether chemo will be necessary or not. This is the piece of treatment options that, quite honestly, I'm hoping, hoping, hoping I don't have to do. Surgery - OK. Radiation - bring it on. Take hormonal meds for 5-10 years - I'm OK with that. Chemo - really, really rather not. So feel free to pray about that for me!

Friday we'll speak with surgeon #3 in the morning and then (minor miracle alert!) an oncologist in the afternoon. After I spoke with a nurse navigator (new term for me) for surgeon #1, she suggested we talk with an oncologist before surgery. (Jon and I have been wondering all along why that isn't the first person they recommend you talk with.) She told me, "Well, I'll try to get you in as soon as possible..." (subtext = this could be awhile). Five minutes later she called back, "This never happens! I went over to his office and he said he has an appointment open at 3:45 tomorrow." Woo hoo!

I might not have time to post again til Monday. Snow in Central Oregon is calling, plus relaxed time with friends. What a treat.

THANKS for walking the journey with me.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the updates Jude. You are the recipient of many daily prayers from me. I hope your weekend is relaxing and very enjoyable. Our love to you guys, Posted as if Kelly is writing, but I'm just so far behind the curve that I don't have gmail!