December fourteenth

Alright! Good morning and good news: I am going to Canada!

Wooohooo! Happy dancing!

When I first mentioned the idea to Doctor Blonde at C3, she said to me: “Theoretically it’s possible, but you might have to work through red tape.”

Which is why it’s best to go to the top. When asking the lead oncologist he said, “I can’t see why that’d be a problem. I’ll send off a letter.”

Two weeks after that meeting I still didn’t have any news. First my file was lost (may still be lost) and then the doctor’s secretary kept telling me she ‘had the tape’ but hadn’t transcribed it. For a while I was stressing over how LONG everything takes. But, in a second meeting with the lead oncologist – let’s call him Dr Lead, because ‘lead oncologist’ is time consuming – he told me he’d sent an email, not a letter, and it should have been with the doctor in Canada two weeks ago.

Two weeks with no response? Fishy . . .

My mom sent her own email, to which the doctor in Canada, Dr Canada, responded with a phone call to the house. He told her that he hadn’t heard from England.

Ah! Okay. Now at this point I wonder – who was right – Dr Blond or Dr Lead? (Sometimes I wish I could use their real names, because these nick names are just silly!) Was this communication mix up ‘red tape’ or simply a misfired email? In either case, I’d say there’s been a handful of confusion . . . and yet, things are working.

I wrote an email to my UK oncologist, Dr Lead, asking him to please resend his original email to the address I provided again (hopefully correct this time). Wow, email is awesome. In other circumstances I would have waited till clinic or gone through his less than friendly secretary. But with a quick Google search of his name: BAM! Email acquired.

Monday morning he resent the introductory letter to Dr Canada and CCed me and my mother. The oncologist in Canada wrote back yesterday (Tuesday), saying he’s happy to have me and will start things rolling.

Not only are plans unfolding well, but now I’m in touch with an apparently excellent oncologist in Canada who, according to Rate-your-doctor, is kind and supportive. Furthermore, back when I started chemo it was my goal to fly home on the 14th of December. Now, even if I do have another setback, that goal will be met. All of this feels really good.

Next up, I’ll arrange things with Air Canada. Apparently they can help me through the airport, which is great because I have a feeling December 14th will be an exhausting day. Mind you, I’ve never been pushed in a wheelchair before; it’s another physical admission of illness, but geez – thinking about those long walks, I guess there’s little choice.

Less than three weeks and I’ll be with my family again. True it’s only for a visit, but it means the world to me nevertheless.   🙂 Isn’t good news fun?

What’s up, doc?

Last Friday, Zsolt and I met with the lead oncologist. We arrived with a list of questions, but before I could even mouth the word  “Christmas”  we had to first cover the basics.

The basics

Doctor: How are you feeling?

Me: Fine.

Doctor: Any mouth sores?

Me: No .

Doctor: How are your fingers and toes?

Me: Good.

Doctor: And your energy?

Me: Still tired.

Doctor: How’s your mood?

Me: Okay.

Doctor: And your bowels?

Me: Fine.

Doctor: What about nausea?

Me: No.

. . . . .

Doctor: Okay, let’s talk about Christmas.

FINALLY! So that ended the basics. Basically, I’m coping with chemo and plugging along. I get tired, I get sore, I get better, I go to work and proceed as normally as possible.

The conversation then shifted to how many doses of paxlitaxol are ‘enough’. Honestly, he gave the same vague answer that all the doctors have given – in that, studies are based on twelve doses, reducing that dose might/could/possibly make a marginal difference in my chances, but he can’t say for certain. It was his opinion, however, that I finish the entire course.

Blah. Okay, fine.

It was also his opinion that finishing chemo in Canada is entirely possible. He would send an email to the hospital in Ottawa, and we’ll see what they say. Nice!

I realize that travelling during chemotherapy will be exhausting. I am aware. But I want to go home, and this is a compromise.  So, if everything works out on the Canadian side of things, I will be able to see my family over the holidays. That means a lot to me.  Zsolt will drive me to the airport, an airline rep will take me through the airport, and then (with thanks a whole lotta air miles) I’ll fly first class home – where I’ll be helped off the plane and delivered to my family. It will be exhausting, but at least I’ll be supported. Plus Air Canada has those pods up in first class, so I’ll be able to lay back and sleep.

Next week we should hear more – hopefully by then the ball will be rolling.

It’s good news that satisfies everyone.  Zsolt is happy, I am happy, and hopefully the journey isn’t too difficult.

Thumbs up for a good meeting! Yay!