Thursday, October 29, 2009

Follow up followed by another follow up

This was the week of follow up appointments. We booked the 12:05 Amtrak on Monday and it was a beautiful ride on a sunny fall day. The riverside was painted in fall colors and the Canada geese were plentiful. We arrived on time and took a cab over to the E. 53rd St. facility. We were early and sat down and waited our turn. Our appointment on Monday was with Dr. D'Angelica the pump surgeon his nurse was the first to see us and she proceeded to remove the ~40 staples that held my incision together. What a relief that was. They were really starting to itch and were pulling at my skin. Dr D' Angelica came in and told us that everything was great and that the pathology report was back. He told us that he found a lymph node near the liver that was suspicious and removed it along with a few others. The one node came back positive. He told us not to be overly concerned about it. As it turns out the node in question was actually discovered after my last CT scan here in Albany. At any rate it's out of me and we'll have to be attentive about it. Dr. Tall who followed me while I was in the hospital popped in to say hello too.We wrapped it up and headed over to the hospital for a PET and CT scan. We had some time before the scans so we went up to see a friend who had the pump implanted last Friday.We visited a bit then it was off to scanapolooza. PET scan at 6. Injected with radioactive stuff and drink a liter of contrast. Wait an hour and then on the table being scanned for 20 minutes. Next up the CT scan at 8PM. First thing they do is stick an 18 gauge needle in my arm. Its a huge needle so they can get a high flow of contrast into me. Needless to say it's not the most comfortable thing and to top it off they wanted me to drink more contrast to which I politely told them that I was not drinking another drop. The scan went well and we were out of there. Off to Penn to catch the 10:50 back to Albany. We got home at 2AM and hit the sack. No appointments on Tuesday.
Wednesday we had more appointments scheduled with Dr. Chung and Dr. Temple. We also were scheduled to have an EKG prior to seeing the docs. We took the 8:05 out of Albany and arrived on time at Penn. It was raining pretty good and don't ask me why but I elected to walk up 7th Ave to the Stage deli. It's about 20 blocks and by the time we got there I was regretting the walk and we were both soaked to the bone. We ordered hot tea and had a corned beef sandwich for lunch. We were dried out (almost) when we finished and hopped a cab over to the E 53rd St facility. We went to the 7th floor to get the EKG and was told that the Dr. had cancelled it. No one bothered to call us which kinda pissed us off a bit because we could have taken the later train down and saved a few $. So we went down to wait and see Dr. Chung. We chatted it up with some folks in the waiting room and were finally called in 1 hour later than scheduled. He came in and told us that the lymph node that was found would exclude me from the study that I had originally signed up for however it would not alter the course of treatment. I will receive the same stuff even though I'm not participating in the study. This was actually welcome news because now we have more flexibility in my treatment. Dr. Chung was not overly concerned about the node and basically gave us the same message that Dr. D'Angelica told us. He cleared me to have the pump filled with chemo and placed the order. We then went to see Dr. Temple. We didn't wait long and soon saw the the nurse. She checked out the incision site and re-packed my open wound. Dr. Temple came in and said that everything was progressing better than expected. Dr. Dimples came in to say hello. She was the doc who followed me while I was in the hospital. She told us that her rotation was ending and she would be moving on. We got a clean bill and were on to the last thing we had to do...fill the pump with chemo and start the battle again.
The pump is filled via an injection through my skin directly into the pump. It doesn't hurt a bit and took all of 5 minutes to complete. Done and done and we're on our way. We had a nice dinner at an Italian place on the east side and then headed to Penn to catch the 7:15 home.
All in all it was good news and we go back on the Nov. 11 for a full treatment.

Until next time...


  1. Don't know what to say exactly, just wanted to let you know you are in our prayers every day. Best of luck to you and your family.
    John De Fiore