My Oncologist locally (the amazing, Dr. H) set up an appointment for follow-up at MD Anderson months ago for me. Today was that appointment. I can't believe it has been 7 months since my last visit to MD Anderson. That place is, itself, a city--HUGE. It really is a bit overwhelming. But, I really love my doctor there. She sees a lot of pregnant and nursing young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, so she is somewhat of an expert with women like me. Dr. H. has kept in close communication with her all along the way and they, together, have agreed upon my treatment plan. I really feel like I have the dream team treating me. This is a huge praise to God!
Drew and I were prepared today to ask many questions, since the last time we saw her was before I began treatment. After reminding her of my treatment drugs, my reactions, and then informing her of the surgery I underwent and the timeline for everything, we began asking her if she would recommend anything different. She agreed with EVERYTHING that has been done so far. She stated that Dr. H. is being very aggressive with my treatment and is even "throwing in the kitchen sink" with my treatments. She agreed with the past and planned future treatment given my advanced stage of cancer and all of the pathological aspects of it. Actually, Dr. H has been corresponding via email with her all along. In fact, adding the chemo drug, Xeloda, to my radiation treatment was My MD Anderson oncologist's (Dr. L's) recommendation to Dr. H. This is the "kitchen sink" to which Dr. L was referring. You see, using this chemo drug in conjunction with radiation is actually a current clinical trial conducted by MD Anderson. Since it is a clinical trial, they do not have statistical data yet. But, the goal is that the drug makes radiation more effective. Unfortunately, it also increases the negative side effects of radiation (fatigue, skin irritation, mouth sores, etc.). I will be having weekly blood draws to monitor my blood counts throughout the next 6.5 weeks as well, since the chemo drug could negatively effect that. But, I just tell myself that this is only 6.5 weeks. When you look at the big picture, 6.5 weeks is nothing. God will bring me through this just as He has everything else. I will be moving on to this next phase of treatment TOMORROW! I can't believe it.
Drew and I were so pleased to look back today and see what God has done throughout this journey so far. His orchestration of my treatment plan between my amazing, "dream team", oncologists is just one shining example. God has His hand all over this. [Psalm 27:1 says "The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?"]
(One more thing: we coordinated our visit to Houston with a weekend trip to visit Drew' side of the family. We had a blast with them, and I will write a separate post about our fun weekend.)