Dr. L., Oncologist

Monday December 6, 2010, noon

I actually didn’t run straight to my journal this morning! I had work and to-do lists on my mind.   I did consider my thoughts while on my first cup a’, which mostly consisted of getting ready to see the oncologist today and the reach out I must take care of ASAP.*

Now it is after our Dr. L [Lavanya S] oncology appointment. I have a million thoughts of course.

Dr L. is competent, gentle, direct. She talks aloud, quickly. Among her scientific musings and chemical analysis she suggested radiation for the tumor. “Zap” it she said! We liked that.

The smart pill user profile, she told us, is a young woman without a history of smoking. Huh, of course that would work – How many young women who haven’t smoked have lung cancer?!

So, Stage 4 lung cancer now gets the full treatment of real staging testing. Dave is getting scheduled for PET Scan, Bone Scan, and CT Brain Scan. That’s the “zinger” this appointment- Lung cancers often metastasize to the brain. Ouch. Dave’s brain is the most important (well, heart for me) to preserve. It is his center, his identity. His pride.

I’ve had a couple of brain cancer patients through hospice. I don’t know what that means. Just an observation. Seems when we hear something we grasp at what familiar we know, whether it is truly relevant of not. From 22 years ago I remember Dave talking about his Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the time. He would tell someone he had cancer and inevitably the person would say “oh, I know (fill in the blank) who had that, or some unrelated disease. He died.” Great! Funny. So I try not to trivialize, not that that was the intention, by accidently comparing a situation I know to whatever is going on with the person. Yet, we still go to what we know is familiar to make sense of things.

Dave’s happier. Decisions made; plan of action. He’s relieved. I like that.

I’m thinking ahead about what I can’t know to answer yet. Will he work this summer? How tired will the chemo make him feel? Do we schedule Friday treatments so he can have weekends to recoup?

Tests first. Staging to see how far this disease has gone.

Oh, palliative care. I hear it all the time. Pain management. (According to him, he’s just a “2” on a scale of 1 -10; 10 being severe pain). Quality of life.

Yes. Quality of life.

*cup a’ refers to a cup of coffee which is the term used by my former neighbor Kelly. She was like a grandma to Leah, sewing and creating little gifts for her and Addy. She always had a cup of coffee and an ear for me. Husband Doc was our local handyman, and I called on him more than once to fix things at the house! He drove the mower around our crazy, steep rocky ¾ acre yard. We shared a fence border of Dahlias. Well, Doc planted them, I picked and enjoyed! They were special and invaluable during all the years we lived out Mud Bay, especially the time when Dave was on chemo for Hodgkins.

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