Monday, March 24, 2008

Eastern Regional Medical Center

Today was a long day, but quite eventful. It began with the standard administrative meeting and paperwork. Then I met with a an oncologist who presented us with the list of tests they require to complete their analysis. Those tests will be complete by the end of the day Tuesday.

Shortly following the oncology meeting, I met with a pain management practitioner who suggested a plan slightly different from my current, self-prescribed, "avoid all pain killers until the last minute" plan. He recommended I take on a proactive approach and commit to a regular schedule throughout the day, which could actually have me be pain-free every day. He also recommended I retire my sacred donut pillow. He shared a few rather unpleasant scenarios/problems the "out dated donut pillow" can cause. After he was done, I decided its time to upgrade to a Tempur-pedic form fitting pillow. He believes I could actually be sitting in a chair with no pain should I follow his two recommendations. At first I was a little skeptical about this meeting. However, I have to say it sounds like a plan worthy of my investment.

The most important part of our day - the part that had the two fo us laughing and joking as we took the shuttle ride home - was my final meeting with the surgeon. We left feeling hopeful. The surgeon believes it is a possibility for me to have resection surgery if the chemotherapy and radiation treatments shrink the tumor and create the necessary two centimeter gap between it and the sphincter muscle. To know the possibility is still present? It brought tears to my eyes. It's a possibility that inspires me a great deal.

As Daniela & I discussed this wonderful possibilty, we at organic curry tofu and vegan bean thread rolls (which were surprisingly absolutely delicious). For lunch we had fresh carrot juice (note: we scored more carrot juice in the late afternoon!), vegan organic lentil soup, organic vegetable sushi, organic fresh steamed broccoli and organic fresh-lemon snap peas. Delicious, vegan, organic and no out of pocket expense. It's all a part of being a patient. When ever my care-taker and I are in the hospital we pay nothing for fresh, delicious, organic food. Yeah, you can tell - I'm very impressed. And yes, they have organic meat & cheese for those who are interested.

Another perk for patients at the Easterrn Regional Medical Center is the free flights when I ever I have an appointment at the hospital. No that is not a type-o. And if that's not enough, they provide shuttle transportation to and from the airport, to your hotel and/or patient apartment (rented through the hosital) as well as the supermarket. Heck, they even provide evening driving tours of Philadelphia.

Fly me in, drive me to and fro, grace me with extraordinary service and then feed me all the organic food I care to eat??? This place seems almost unreal. Did I mention they have homeopathic practitioners who provide remedies to reduce radiaton and chemotherapy side effects? Yeah. And minus the reduced cost-apartment rental ($30/day) or hotel costs ($45/day), my insurance covers everything. [HUGE EXHALE] Let this be the final stage of my healing process. That would be a beautiful thing.

And why is all of this available?

"...this vision came from a personal experience. When Richard J Stephenson’s mother Mary Brown Stephenson was stricken with cancer, he went on a mission to find the most effective and advanced treatment available. He was disappointed by what he found. While these world-class cancer treatment facilities focused on the clinical and technical aspects of cancer treatment, they ignored the multidisciplinary nature of the disease. Upon her death, Richard J Stephenson vowed to revolutionize cancer treatment, and so he founded Cancer Treatment Centers of America."

When I first arrived this mornig, I was looking for the catch. Could it really be this good? Now the day is complete and I am truy moved by the commiment of this organization. Outstanding.


  1. You bring tears of joy to my eyes.
    Two centimeter gap? I'm speechless.

    Do they have a cookbook from the cafeteria? Vegan bean thread rolls? Wow! Even some menus would be nice.

    Bless you, Rob with all that the Universe has to share.

  2. Beautiful, Bert! Hallelujah!
    God bless.

  3. Bert,
    Such great news... That all sounds wonderful. I'm so glad you made the connection with this organization. Let me know when we can fix ya a 100% organic Burger with all the toppings!
    Love and positivity
    Jim, Gail, Elizabeth, and Katherine

  4. So are you still going through with the juicing? What changes to your diet did you have to make? Do you still need help? Thanks!

  5. Bert, I strongly recommend following their pain management plan. Just because we have cancer does not mean we have to suffer pain, and at times like this, narcotics can be our friends. I have learned this the hard way myself, and I need reminding every day.

    Your interview with the surgeon sounds like it was very hopeful... hope is what we all need during times like this. I'm glad they can offer it to you!

    Maria Brown

  6. I am smiling ear to ear for you as I read this latest post. I'm so glad you've found this wonderful place, that insurance is covering so much and that you and Daniela are feeling good about it. You are soaring, and you will continue to soar as you conquer this!

  7. reply to anonymous:
    I am currently doing three juices a day. My diet will still be nearly vegan w/ a little organic dairy.

    As far as the help we need, that will depend on where I do my treatment - Ithaca or CTCA. I will certainly post that info as soon as I am clear. Thanks for checking in!