Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ix-nay on the infusion-ay

No treatment was administered today.

Yes, you read that correctly. We went there for an infusion. Instead, we got confusion!

One of the side effects of going to a oncology practice where eight different docs circulate all patients is that that one practice offers its own second, third, and fourth opinions on your case. It's been established that Dan is an "interesting" case. I don't think we understood how that qualifier would so drastically affect his care and treatment options.

Because Dan's type and manifestation of cancer is so weird, it's hard for the docs to come to a consensus on how he should be treated. Hell, getting them to agree of the tests he needed was a challenge. And my frustration here should not be intrepreted as frustration with this process -- I believe that this kind of Thunderdome forum yields better solutions than a everyone-play-nice-in-the-sandbox approach. But it's not a football they're wrangling over. It's my husband's health and our lives.

Dr. T was the one who delivered the news that their latest discussion of Dan had come down with him strongly favoring Rituxin + Fludarabine -- gene therapy AND chemo, as opposed to Rituxan alone. (The trade term is "combination therapy" vs. "mono-treatment.") Going to combination therapy means the whole game changes. If we were on a soccer field before, we've moved to an Olympic-sized pool.

The specifics of those changes are what our next round of Q&A with the oncologists will be. We walked away with some general ideas, and we'll try to outline those here in the next couple of days.

We haven't made any decisions about treatment yet. However, whatever Dan opts for will likely not begin until next year. We're tired, y'all. We have been on a damn roller coaster for three bloody months. One of the few certainties we have is that waiting to do something is not going to kill Dan. It's not even going to make him sicker.

If indeed we are now swimming instead of running, we're going to hug the edges of the pool for a while. Get used to the water temperature. Maybe see if we can find some arm floaties.

And because Dan is awesome, here is his suggestion for outwitting cancer:

DAN: "Maybe we just need to find a better place for the tumors. Like, say the Bahamas. Or Maui. You know, I go out to the pool, look around, tell my tumors I'm just going back to the room for a towel, could they watch my drink . . . ?"

ME: "Yeah, and then it's all smoke bombs and grappling hooks, and you make your escape through the skylight! Hell, baby, for all you know, they may just want to go to La Cross, Wisconsin or something. See if you can shake them at Joe's place when you go to Chicago this weekend."


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