Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Series of Appointments Complete

On Saturday November 12th, I was in NY with my sister Vivienne because I had appointments all day Monday (November 14th) at Sloan Kettering. I'm very grateful for Vivienne's presence, because it was non-stop from 9am to 7pm, not to mention it was great to spend my time with her.

I checked in about 9am for a second flow scan for my Hepatic Arterial Infusion Pump (Liver pump). The scan revealed that all is working properly and the liver pump chemo can begin on November 30th as planned. However, the staff started the scan later than scheduled and at 12:08pm, Vivienne & I exited the hospital and headed to the clinic, now late for a 12pm EKG appointment. Just to clarify, all of my out-patient doctors appointments are on 53rd Street at the Rockefeller Outpatient Pavilion (what I call the clinic), while the scans and surgical procedures have been done at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, commonly referred to as Memorial Hospital. So, we left the hospital at 12:08 and immediately went to 53rd street for a EKG scheduled for noon as well as my appointments with both my surgeon and my oncologist. Following those appointments, we returned to Memorial Hospital for a quick out-patient surgery, during which I had a port installed. At 7 pm, we were on our way back to the hotel room. Man, it felt good to get out of there and be back onto the streets, with no more appointments to think about for the next two weeks. With so many appointments in the day, Vivienne and I spent the entire time concerned about whether we were going to be on time for the appointments, or more specifically, if we were even going to make the appointments. For us it was hurry up and wait all day.

Fortunately, we ended the day with a very nice dinner followed by 45 minutes of live music, both with our German exchange brother, Hinnerk, who is back in town for a joint birthday celebration we're having for our folks this weekend. Amazingly, my appointments in NY coincided with his arrival in NY. It certainly made for a really wonderful time.

On Wednesday November 30th, I return to the Sloan Kettering for my first liver infused chemotherapy treatment. Two weeks later, I'll go to the Cancer Center at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca and receive Folfox chemotherapy, systemically, via my port. Also the liver pump will be filled with a saline & heprain solution because at the two week mark, the pump will have run dry. If it stayed empty, there is risk of blood clots, which would obviously be very dangerous. Two weeks after that, I'll return to Cayuga Medical Center again and the liver pump will be refilled with saline and heparin and I will have another round of systemic chemotherapy.  One week following that, I return to Sloan Kettering to have the pump chemo again. I will do six rounds of this five week cycle for a total of seven months.

Amazingly, the pump is activated by my body heat and the rate at which it flows is based on and therefore adjusted to the atmospheric pressure of where ever the patient lives, in my case the Eastern seaboard. Thus the pump flows at a very specific rate. Should the patient travel to higher or lower elevations, adjustments to the pump are made. Also, I'm not allowed to travel in non-pressurized planes, which doesn't exactly pose a problem for me. Hopefully, the little man and I will still be able to do a twenty minute ride in a prop plane with the East Hill Flying Club on Father's Day.

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