Nothing deep and philosophical in today’s post. I’m tired and it is, alas, more of a process piece and update. But, read on to see how you might be able to help out in a tangible way over the coming weeks.
It’s been a very busy week. I met with a homeopath to discuss pain management, a radiation oncologist to arrange for treatment over the coming two weeks, and oncologists at a Tel Aviv hospital to discuss the possibility of getting in on a Phase 1 study. I’m also corresponding with another hospital here, as well as doctors in the US about other tests and treatments I can pursue.
In short, there’s a lot going on and, while it’s certainly good to be doing something, it all just adds to the “cancer fatigue” I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks. I am, in short, exhausted, and need to tackle this pain, head-on.
First, the most interesting thing (at least to me) is the acupuncture. The philosophy of the
homeopath I met with is that all areas of the body can be impacted via the ear. So, after some poking and prodding, he did his thing which, I’m happy to report, didn’t cause any significant pain, at all. We sat there for about 20 minutes talking about all sorts of subjects (Torah, politics, acupuncture) before he removed the pins. We’ll go back twice more over the next two weeks and see if it’s helpful, at all. If not, no loss. Just something else to try.
Next, and a little more conventional, is that I am set to start 10 daily treatments of radiation over the next two weeks, starting Monday afternoon. We are targeting a growing tumor on my right pelvis that has been the source of increasing pain for me. Yesterday, I went for the initial simulation where, after a quick CT, the technician drew some lines on my midsection, my pelvis and thighs to help best line up the radiation beams when I go in next week. (SORRY! No photos of that…)
I was pleased to learn there likely won’t be significant side effects, aside from diarrhea (Yay, ileostomy!) and exhaustion.
The schedule is not necessarily the most convenient – late afternoon every day – but it’s what was available. Soooo, if you’re local and want to help out by giving me a ride and waiting with me one of the days next week or the week after, please let me know.
It’s interesting how we get used to our way of doing things. At first, we were completely discombobulated by “our” hospital, Hadassah. We didn’t know where to park, how to find our way around, where to wait, with whom to speak when we had issues, and so on. So, earlier in the week, when we had to go to a different hospital – Ichilov in Tel Aviv – we were at a bit of a disadvantage. But, I’m happy to report that things worked out well, at least from a logistical point of view. Parking was a breeze. We found a convenient spot and didn’t have to pay, as the hospital covers it for oncology patients! Already a step in the right direction… Then, finding the oncology clinic was only a minor challenge.
The fun began once we found the clinic, but had to wait an hour to be seen. Again, I’m always willing to wait; that doesn’t mean it’s not annoying.
In advance of the appointment, I had sent the study coordinator at the hospital a rather thorough email and history of the past five years. After reviewing it all, she set me up with this week’s appointment to review my case and see if I’d be appropriate for any of their studies. Apparently, sending all the information didn’t circumvent the necessity to have my history taken, again, by a resident. And, he did a thorough job. Two hours’ worth of a thorough job. (I felt bad for the people who had an appointment after me!) He then brought in the head of the colorectal oncology department, who is also in charge of the various studies they have going on at the hospital. Very long story short, there are a few questions that need to be cleared up by my oncologist, after which the good folks at Ichilov will be happy to put me on a waiting list for a Phase 1 study. (The other hospital I’m talking to, Beilinson, prefers to wait until after my radiation is completed and a follow up CT can be done.)
While my most recent CT clearly shows disease progression, there is some good news to share: my brain and lungs remain disease-free, and my right kidney is showing less inflammation (which was caused by the blocked ureter a couple of months ago).
There you go. Not very inspirational, but informative, I hope. As always, thanks for reading and have a great weekend!