Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why Couldn't He Be At The University Of Hawaii?

Friday ended up being a lot more exciting than I'd anticipated.  Julie & I headed to the Oncologists office where I'll be receiving the chemo to meet with the nurse in charge of scheduling and administering the medication.  This was the trip where we'd finally hear the gory details of what this particular treatment (BEP) would entail.  

We'd met this woman before, back in 2010 when I first had that single dose of chemo (carboplatin) after the surgery to remove my left testicle.  The nurse is very nice, and she also levels with you.  She told us this would be rough, I'd lose my hair (as expected), and then went over the various other side effects and what to watch out for.  Basically this is going to be really rough, and it's going to suck.

The schedule works out as follows:  I'll receive 3 courses of BEP, each course is 3 weeks long.  The first week of each course I receive chemo every day for 8 hours a day.  That's right, week one of each course is daily chemo (Monday to Friday) from 9 to 5.  The drips are slow, and are often switched out to a saline bag to flush my system and try to keep my kidneys from being damaged.  Weeks two and three I only receive treatments on Mondays, and then it all starts over again the following Monday.

We spent a while with this nurse discussing the treatment, schedule, side effects, and various other matters.  After that we met with the doctor to get the results of all of my recent tests and to discuss the plan going forward.  All of my other tests looked good, and the doctor told me he had again discussed my case with Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, world famous (to those with testicular cancer) for saving Lance Armstrong.  Einhorn is the best there is when it comes to treating this cancer, literally changing the survival statistics from testicular cancer with his pioneering treatment.  Einhorn had a few recommendations for my doctor about my case, but also said he would be interesting in meeting with me if I was so inclined.  Of course Julie & I jumped at the chance, and contacted Einhorn's office immediately to schedule a consultation.

His office was able to fit me in on Tuesday, so we bought tickets to Indianapolis (Einhorn is associated with Indiana University) and immediately starting running around trying to obtain all of the necessary records from the various doctors I've seen.  This is harder than you'd think.  Paper records are no problem, my Oncologist said he could get all of that to Einhorn prior to my visit.  But actual electronic copies (on CDs, mostly) of the various imaging scans I've had are harder to obtain quickly.  Even more difficult, I needed to obtain the actual pathological slides from the two cancers which have been biopsied (the original in 2010 and the most recent in 2012).

I think I'll be able to get this all together on Monday, going from hospital to hospital, filling out forms and paying fees.  Our flight is at 6 pm Monday night so I hope to have it all completed before 3.

We don't know what to expect from Einhorn, most likely he'll review and agree with my current doctors, and give his blessing to my treatment.  But until we meet with him, we're really not sure.  As it stands now I start chemo on Monday, 3/5, but that is now subject to change depending on Einhorn's opinion.  We have flights back on Wednesday morning, but there is a chance (I suppose) that I would need to stay in Indy for additional appointments.

In other news I somewhat chickened out on shaving my head this weekend.  I cut off most of my hair, it's shorter than it's been in 5 years, but because I was flying I didn't want to look too different from my drivers license photo.  And hell I have another weekend now to complete the job.

But we did cut most of my hair off and it was funny and sad for Julie & I.  We filmed the entire thing on an iphone, it took about 45 minutes.  I've attached two clips that show the fun and easy beginning, and then a clip from near the end when we had a little moment.
PART 1 (About 10 Mins In)

PART 2 (about 38 Mins In)

Speaking of movies, we watched 50/50 last night.  It was a pretty good movie and of course it's about a dude with cancer.  Some of it probably hit home (considering Julie & I were off an on crying throughout) and it had me balling at the end.  No really for the movie really, I had not had a big cry since all this started and I probably needed it.  The movie helped.

When it comes to cancer films I'd put this up with there with Brian's Song and Champions.  Brian's Song is of course famous for being a film that can reliably get men to cry, but if you've not seen Champions it's pretty good.  Again testicular cancer, also based on a true story.  That one was hard for Julie to watch.

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