I had my follow-up with Panella today and it went good in most ways. Denise took me there as she usually does and went with me. Dr Panella opened the door and asked if we minded talking to an Intern first. We were good with that, everybody has to learn and he done a good job. Looks as if he will turn out good if he continues like Panella is teaching him, but I think he wasn't sure just how blunt to be.
Panella then came in. The CT Scan showed the mass as large as it was, no change, 4.7 cms I believe. This time however it looked differently and the formation or something wasn't showing solid. He believes like Dr Rathfoot said that it is Radiation damage. He said that there was a slight concern but minimal. The lungs showed a few nodules but he said that was typical here in East Tennessee. Because of them and the throat though he ordered another CT Scan in April.
Then we discussed the aftermath of the treatments. He said that because of the severity of the reaction to the Taxotere and the radiation over burn that I will take longer for the aftermath to leave and that I may be left with some of it forever. The aftermath being neuropathy in the hands, feet and face. A hissing in the ears that varies from annoying to partially blocking sound. Chemo fog or brain, however one wished to term it. Some vision loss. A course voice that fades as I use it. The saliva glands not working properly. Problems with sun exposure to the neck. Hard time swallowing some things and breathing at times (so far, mostly in the heat). Finally, last but not least... fatigue.
All of these though are acceptable and were discussed up front for the most part. They may decide to cut away some of the scar tissue from the radiation which might help, but that is for them to decide. I can work on the fatigue, strength, and stamina. It may take a while but it is a goal. This leads occasionally to depression so I need to watch what I expect. The rest I will deal with what I have left and how to compensate for what I haven't. Somewhere there is a balance point, I just have to find it, but it's there. All in all we are calling this a good day and a blessing from God. I ain't got a clue why or what He is doing but I'm here for the ride.
I seen people in the waiting area, some just beginning the battle, some like me, praying it stops now, and some, God love them, in the midst of the battle. There is an unspoken connection there somewhere. I feel comfortable being around them. There sat a beautiful young lady with he dad, all he hair removed and her skin what we called the Chemo color. Her eyes were still bright though, full of hope yet one could catch a glimpse of fear. A middle aged lady wearing a hat to cover he head with no hair. She too was beautiful once and still an attractive lady that will be beautiful yet again, even more so as she will grow inside. One man though looked bad, skinny and extremely weak. I think we went to school together. Yet he walked when called with cane in hand the best his body would carry him. From his looks I'm guessing the prognosis wasn't good, yet his eyes showed intelligence and kindness, fear, and pain... and a little dash of hope.
I stopped, as I always do to see everybody at the Chemo Hut to see the ladies, Sandra in particular, and give her a hug. They were all so good to me. I have memories of people coming in and saying high after they were done... it always gave me hope.
It is not that. I look back and thank God for all He did. He led me to great Doctors and nurses, and a great hospital, actually two of them. Great friends and especially a great family. I look at Denise after all these years and wonder just what she sees in me. She is so smart and beautiful. So God has so well blessed me. I just wish dad had of lived to see me get to this point, but I'm sure he sees me, they all do.
I get a break until next month. Then I see Rathfoot. Until then though we take it one day at a time. I will work with what I have and learn to work around what I have not. If God has wanted to get my attention these last 5 years, my ears are open now.