Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Little update

I spoke to the Gemelli oncology office today and was told the ethics committee has agreed to let me have the conservative treatment.

This means that I won't be having the Big Surgery, but instead will start with an antipasto and contorno of two courses of chemotherapy, possibly followed by a primi of a third. These will be served while in the hospital so they can monitor for side effects. The idea is to shrink the tumour down to a size where the less invasive, smaller surgery would be appropriate for the secondi.

If the chemo doesn't work, then we have to move on to... other things. But at least the horrifying surgery that I was having trouble accepting has been bumped down to Plan B.

All of this will take a while. There is a wait between courses of chemo, so the body doesn't get overwhelmed, and after it is over, they wait 40 days so my immune system can build itself back up and I can be strong enough for surgery.

So the thing to pray for now, if y'all would be so kind, is that the tumour responds to the chemo. The treatment is still officially experimental, so trials are ongoing. I was told by Prof. Scambia, however, that he believes it will become the standard treatment, replacing radical hysterectomy for early stage cervical cancer. From what I have read about this process, there are often a small number of cases in a given trial who have what is called "pathological complete response" after the chemotherapy. This does not necessarily mean that the cancer is cured, but it is a good thing and has a very positive indication for long-term prognosis. So, we now have something to hope for.

BTW: I've decided to go with scarf for the hair loss. Wigs just strike me as kind of yucky, and with a scarf, it's more or less the equivalent of wearing a T-shirt that says to fellow commuters on trains and buses, "I've got cancer; please give me your seat."

Also, many thanks for the people who continue to pour in their messages of support. John, I got your little St. Therese card in the office today. Also thanks to those who continue to be helpful in practical ways, with phone calls to non-English-speaking hospital people and whatnot.

Oh, and for putting up with me turning into a raving maniac over the last little while. I promise from now on to take my pill before attempting to engage in social activity.



Ingemar said...

If you want to be creepy and alienate people, wear a hijab instead of a scarf.

DP said...

Thanks for the update! Prayers inbound.

Speaking of inbound, if you're interested in a fine scriptural commentary, I have an extra set of all three volumes of Steinmueller's excellent "A Companion to Scripture Studies" (circa 1945). I'd be happy to mail it on to you. E-mail me on Facebook or at dhprice2-at-hotmail-dot-com.

Anonymous said...


Mass for Hilary White courtesy of the local FSSP, coming right up.

...well, as soon as Father puts it on the schedule anyway...

Kathleen (Ottawa) said...

Will do.