Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Lot to Consider

Another good day. My radiologist highly recommended IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy). Click on the link to get a full description. The two cent version is that IMRT is a highly precise radiotherapy that is used to avoid causing unnecessary damage to cells anorgans d in the immediate area surrounding the tumor tissue. And thee's a lot of close organ proximity in the pelvis. I would receive chemotherapy in conjunction with the radiation to maximize the effectiveness of the radiation. The radiotherapy kills some cancer cells while only injuring others. The chemotherapy is designed to destroy the cells that are injured but not destroyed.

Currently, I am leaning toward receiving treatment here at the Eastern Regional Medical Center. Daniela and I have been talking all evening about his - going back and forth with the options. It would require me to be away from my family for six weeks and that would be difficult. Daniela is committed to being down here with me for two or three non-consecutive weeks - that will mean the world to me. And I'm lucky enough to know she wouldn't have it any other way. It will be a push to be gone that long, especially if the side effects are heavy, but what means a great deal to me is the phenomenal relationship the staff have to the patients and to one another.

The staff at CTCA are clear that a patients emotional health is as important as their physical health if the goal is to achieve the absolute maximum effectiveness with treatment. Do I feel strong enough to handle it in another environment, i.e., locally and at home? Absolutely. But to be treated in a facility where all aspects of my therapy are covered by one group of closely knit staff is a rare opportunity.

Then I must take into consideration that the oncological therapy could cause temporarily debilitating side effects such as serious skin irritation or significantly increased pain. There is also the possibility of permanently debilitating side effects. With that as a possibility, I like knowing that those who will treat me already have a rapport with one another, as well the same context from which they take on their commitment. It's just not common and from where I stand today, it seems like an incredible opportunity to maximize the effectiveness of my healing.

I had a CT scan this morning. An hour later I was meeting with my radiologist and reviewing the scan images on his computer. In my experience at the hospitals I have been to thus far, that kind of turn around time is unheard of. Usually CT scan results take days to receive. Yesterday my blood was drawn and hours later, the doctor was reviewing the results with me. If I have any kind of problem or the the doctors have any uncertainty about me, the tests are completed and the results are reviewed in hours, again with the entire team available to consult one another. Now I understand why people come here from hundreds of miles away. The service, like I said, it just phenomenal.

And, at home...having family, and the kind of community I am blessed with so close by is also a powerful strength. I have not made my decision yet. Tomorrow will provide more answers. And then I will have a few days - maybe a week - to make up my mind.


  1. I would have to think that staying there would be the best choice as well. You have made alot of great sacrifices over the past year to inmprove you chance of a full recovery and to be honest thats all that really matters. You can't be a great husband, Dad, Son, Brother, friend to all the people you love if things don't go right. So right now you have to think whats best for you, so you can be all those things later. Would I wanna be home if I were in your shoes? The thought of not being with Kim in a time like that sends Chills up my spine(really). But your best care is there, the incredible staff you speak of is there, the answers to any questions that might come up are there. So you stay stong, stay true to you commitment to your health, so your HERE for years to come. I'll keep you in my prayers. Fil

  2. This place sounds amazing and you seem to be in great spirits.
    It feels like you are in the home stretch now.... You guys are in my thoughts.

  3. It sounds as though the staying is more beneficial to your physical health. At this point, it appears as though "physical" is the issue.
    You and Daniela and Cal and Beau will have many happy years together when all this is behind you...[so to speak.]

    It seems as though we're talking delayed gratification here.

    During my years at school, those who stayed on campus had a stronger bonding with each other and the professors. I was a day student and later on a campus student; on campus worked better for me; there was good phone time with my family.

    It's definitely your decision, these are only my experiences.
    Bless you and your beautiful family through these difficult times.