We traveled to Atlanta to visit the Emory Winship Cancer Center. My sister went with us and she was excited to take notes and listen to the conversation. The visit was interesting. It was the shortest we have ever waited, which is usually between 30 – 60 minutes but we only waited about 10 this time. I assume, based on my visits, that the doctor’s are reviewing my stack of records before coming to see me. Then they come in with either their typed up notes on my history or their chicken scratch version, which always makes me smile.
The doctor came in with her hand written notes on a half sheet of notebook paper. My sister was asked to move her chair so the doctor could speak to all 3 of us. She went over my history and I filled in the blanks. Then she looked me in the eyes, point blank and asked “so why are you here?” This made me laugh. I explained that we know the Xeloda is working right now but eventually it won’t anymore and I want to be ready for that decision. I want my records at all of the centers, I want to meet each doctor and I want to know what everyone has to offer me when the time comes. I’m pretty sure I made her smile then too.
She discussed my current treatment and her excitement at the Xeloda working. It is also one of her first choices for treatment in cases like mine. She commented that the next standard course would be the IV chemo Taxol, though I had its cousin back in the beginning of my treatment and since it didn’t work then, she doesn’t recommend it as a next step. We talked about receptors and she was excited that I knew about the androgen receptors and that I am being tested for it currently. Though we anticipate that I’ll be negative, it’s a process we need to follow to see. It was interesting too because she commented that the drug companies expected this to be a huge trial with a lot of participants and there are a lot less people who qualify for the trial than originally anticipated.
She expressed her concern about having my tissue expanders removed as soon as possible so that I can have MRIs instead of CT scans done. My understanding is that I have to wait for any surgery 5 – 6 months after radiation ended but it’s a question that I’ll confirm for sure.
The visit was great and she spent about an hour and a half with us. We talked about my options and she was genuinely relieved that we were being proactive and that we understood there will eventually be a crossroads in which we have to make a decision. At the end of the visit, she squeezed my hands, leaned in close and told me that I am officially her patient and she will do whatever it takes when it’s time to make a decision. It’s so refreshing to hear that.
I am so glad that we made the visit and of course that we saw my sister & her husband! Here’s hoping we won’t be calling her, or any other oncologists, for a long time while the Xeloda keeps working! 😉