Phase Two

Today begins the second phase in this detour in the road. The past week we visited the chemotherapy doctor, had a class on chemo and toured the facility. This morning I will have a “port catheter” put in which is a direct intravenous line attached to a vein that is always accessible for medications. The drugs given for chemo are harsh and toxic. So much so that the doctor won’t take a chance that the IV leaks into the surrounding skin (hence, the port cath).

Following this minor surgery we’re off for a PET and heart scan. These are tests that I am familiar with from my years at the hospital in the nuclear medicine department. I shall endeavor to be a good patient and not whine about having to lie still. Both tests are done as baseline. The PET (positron emission tomography) scan is looking for any additional tumor cells that might have slipped out prior to surgery. The heart scan (called a MUGA for multi-gated acquisition) is done to look at the strength of my heart and make sure I am able to tolerate any damage done from the chemo drugs.

During our tour of the chemo lab we ran into a nurse who grew up best friends with one of Bob’s nieces. It’s a small world… and it will be nice having someone familiar around during the upcoming weeks.

As it stands today, this phase will take four months. There are three different medicines given at different stages every other week. The first two drugs are apparently guaranteed to make my hair fall out. My friend who is a five year survivor wrote me that without having to fix her hair she was finally able to beat her husband getting ready in the mornings.

The doctor and staff continue to reassure me that treatments are better managed than in years past still there is no doubt that these upcoming treatments will be wearing. But I’ve discovered (as I always knew) that we have a very strong support system in place through family and friends. I am reminded daily that there are a lot of people praying for us and giving us strength as we move forward. Some have asked how much Matthew realizes. I can’t say for sure but Sunday the pastor mentioned my name during closing prayers. Matthew reached over, patted my hand, and kissed my cheek. As always, he seems to see all and understand much more than we think.

So Friday afternoon I expect to be able to put a big check mark on my calendar. And phase two will be underway.

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