We have all the pieces in place at this point, and I wanted to let you all know about my treatment plan and choices.
First, you will notice that I am languaging differently again. If this makes you uncomfortable or it is hard to understand, please refer back to my intentional language post – over to the right. Our culture has a lot of beliefs and energy behind what Chemotherapy means and much of this does not serve me, while the medical treatment itself does serve me. Thus a change in wording.
This process will literally cleanse my body of about a gazillion cells, some of which I no longer need and many of which will be lost as collateral damage. That is why the body often feels so badly during chemo. So, I am about to embark on a full body chemo cleanse, which will often be shortened to cleanse. Fall and spring are the best time for a cleanse, and here I am starting on September 7th.
The cleanse is toxic to newly and fast dividing cells, and any cancer cells that are in my body will be a primary target as they are fast dividing cells. I ask that all the cancer cells and any other cells and energies that no longer serve me be released in this process. I see it as an alchemical process and the chemo will act as fire, burning off that which no longer serves me.
Oncologist and treatment will be in Philadelphia – CTCA – Cancer Treatment Centers of America, my oncologist is Dr. Willis. We really like him and his whole team a lot. What works there – they have a complete holistic team that supports the patients. Naturopaths, Nutritionists, PT/OT, Body/Mind Counselor, Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist, a mostly organic cafeteria, and a whole lot of other goodies on top of really good and aggressive western medicine. Laura and I can assemble such a team here, in fact we have all those people and will continue to consult with them. What is different is that at CTCA, they are talking to each other and interested in comparing notes and finding the best choices for each patient. We cannot make that happen here.
A favorite moment during our visit was Dr. Willis talking about how much he had learned in the last five years from working with the Naturopaths and other holistic providers. This was priceless from a highly successful, well published Oncology specialist and the head of Oncology. We also really enjoyed chatting with a few different Naturopaths and just about everyone else we ran into.
Chemo Cleanse day – Wednesdays
Starts September 7th
1st: Dose Dense Adriamycin/Cytoxan for four rounds, every two weeks – September and October
2nd: Taxol – four rounds every three weeks – November, December and early January
Our plan is that Laura and I will travel to Philly on Wednesday mornings, stay over one night and return on Thursdays generally. We have our schedules arranged so that we can lay low through Sunday each cleanse week. It is roughly a three hour drive to northeast Philadelphia.
Next week I have to head up a day early, because they need to do a MUGA scan to check my heart function in advance – both the Adriamycin and the Radiation can present heart risks.
February/March I will receive Radiation Therapy for five weeks on some really cool newer equipment that will cut two weeks off the process and be more accurate… more on that down the road. That is a bit more time up there as it is five days a week. We will be there Monday afternoon through Friday morning each week. My sister Polly is probably going to be able to come east to stay with Sarah during that time. She hasn’t seen a real winter in over 25 years, so hopefully Maryland will be gentle, and give her one good snow storm.
Yes, lots of logistics. We are asking many friends at school to help out and provide afternoon entertainment and homework time for Sarah, as well as transportation to and from her beloved riding lessons. For me, the making sure she is taken care of, part of this, is just so important. Thankfully Kevin, Sarah’s Dad, is a good friend and is close. We are working all of this into the parenting schedule we have had for years, with the hope that there will as little disruption for Sarah as possible.
Does that answer the pertinent questions? Please feel free to ask, I am happy to talk about all of this. And frankly, I am ready to get started, as the waiting and unknown are perhaps worse than the reality.
And I guess the final point I want to make here, is that this is a journey of time as well as experience. A few people have asked me if I am done yet, or such. My active treatment will not be done until March 2012. I don’t need to dramatize that, it simply is time. Time that will be devoted to my healing.
And I pray that time that will also allow for my participation on my house renovation… we just got preliminary plans from my architect Joel – I’m in love with them and even more in love with the house now.
Big hugs to all my family and friends,