8/22/06 Plans

Family and Friends,

We have our first appointment with the oncologist, Dr. Helen Ross, next Monday. We have been told by a couple of sources that she is a nationally recognized lung cancer expert, and that both her colleagues and her patients like her a lot. We have two goals for that appointment. First, we want to find out if she recommends the chemotherapy that we heard about from the surgeon. If so, chemotherapy would presumably begin within a few days of that time. Our second goal is to see if there is anything else that she recommends. If chemotherapy is recommended, it would happen before surgery. Because of this, it will probably be mid-September before I have surgery.

We have an appointment next Thursday with a second surgeon, Dr. John Handy, to consider a minimally invasive surgical procedure for removing the tumor. The first surgeon we spoke with does not do this procedure. Dr. Handy is also recognized as being outstanding in his field, not to mention having a great name for a surgeon. At this point Gen and I are both thinking that the minimally invasive option sounds much better, unless we hear something to the contrary from either Dr. Handy or Dr. Ross.

Although we have not yet met with Dr. Ross, she reviewed my chart and ordered two more tests. This Thursday I will have a repeat CT scan of my chest, and will also have an MRI of my brain. Apparently the MRI is much more sensitive to picking up cancer in the brain than the PET scan that I had two weeks ago, and Dr. Ross ordered the repeat CT scan to see if my tumor had grown in three weeks. This is very reassuring in one way, as it tells us how thorough Dr. Ross is, before we have even seen her. However, it is also a bit disconcerting after we thought all the questions about the potential spread of cancer had been answered.

Our friend Rebbecca offered this reassurance: As the former head nurse of an oncology unit, she said that it is common for oncologists and surgeons to repeat tests and find even more things to test. This is to make sure that they don’t miss anything the first time around. It reminds me of the old carpenter’s saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” Perhaps this saying is a little TOO fitting….

Thank you for your continued support, prayers, positive energy and prune thoughts throughout this challenging time for us. We remain optimistic through the process. I continue to feel healthier now than I did even a few years ago because I am in better shape. The only thing that hurts is a few sore ribs from a little incident on a ski boat a couple of weeks ago. I am convinced that I could have gone a few more years without ever knowing that I had lung cancer, but I had the extraordinary good fortune of having a sore back and a conscientious chiropractor. There is so much to be thankful for.


Dann and Gen