The first thing I learned is that cancer takes up a lot of your time. Since the diagnosis my calendar has been FULL!! Once they tell you that you have cancer they move full speed ahead!
Mark went with me to my first appointment at Florida Cancer Specialists. I walked in the place and immediately hated it..it was full of old sick people and it smelled like sick people. I was told I would feel this way by a friend who has won her battle against Hodgkin's, she nailed it on the head!! I looked around the waiting room and wondered what I was doing here with these sick people. I don't feel sick, I don't look sick...I'm young. It was pretty upsetting. Before you see a doctor you must speak to a "financial counselor" about your insurance and how you are going to pay for all your treatment. They had my insurance wrong the first time I was there and they have yet to sort it out. I go in every time prepared with how much of my deductible I have met to date, etc. I learned quickly that you have to keep very close track. If I didn't keep close track of my coverage, etc., they would be making me pay a lot more than I should be out of pocket. I feel sorry for some of the elderly patients there who often seem confused by their coverage...it's hard to sort it all out.
I met with my oncologist on Monday, January 7th for the first time. He discussed my diagnosis, talked about chemo, answered our questions and set up a TON of tests and decided I would start chemotherapy the next week. We knew I would need chemo regardless...the tests would just tell us how much. Best case scenario was that I would have four treatments followed by radiation.
That week I had a bone marrow biopsy, pulmonary function tests, a MUGA scan of my heart, PET scan and CT scans. Everyday I had some kind of an appointment. Everyday someone stuck me with a needle, gave me an IV or made me drink something yucky.
On Wednesday, January 16th I met with the doctor and we went over my results. Bone marrow was negative for cancer, he said my heart pumps stronger than Lance Armstrong's, my lungs function above average, but there were multiple lymph nodes that lit up on the PET scan. All of these nodes are above my diaphragm so this put me in Stage 2. This means I will need 12 treatments - a full course of chemotherapy that will be done over the next 6 months. The prognosis is the same...when I am done I will be cancer free.
On this same day I went ahead with my first treatment.