Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Finally here it is… the update on my visit to the Cancer Treatment Center of America. It has been a week now since returning home, and still everything is spinning in my head.
The center is amazing; I was surrounded by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists, consisting of primary doctor, nurse navigator, oncologist, oncology surgeon, naturopathic doctor, nutritionist, and mind & body team. The days were packed with exams, tests and classes. In between all of that were wonderful meals, all organic, with a wide choice of new and unusual entrées, served in a beautiful dining room, that in no way could be called a cafeteria. They even gave us recipes for our favorite dishes. One of the most impressive aspects of the center is the genuine since of care and concern for the patients. The positive attitude reflects in all the staff from the drivers to the doctors, and it all rubs off on the patients as well. Everyone smiles, it is such a compassionate and empowering environment. (Barb called it the Disneyland of cancer treatment centers!)We met several patients from all over the US, each with a heartwarming story of their life with cancer.
All the test results were good (thank you Lord!); the doctors said I responded well to my treatments. The oncologist commented that I went through a very aggressive treatment and handled it well. All my counts were good. The only unanswered question was concerning the diaphragm and lymph node, these areas tested positive for cancer in December from the biopsies even though nothing showed up on scans, and nothing is showing up now. So in order to know if the treatments took care of these areas they will have to do exploratory laparoscopic surgery to look again. This is scheduled for a couple of weeks.
I have started on a nutrition plan including several supplements; some are fish oil, vitamin D3 and magnesium citrate, to build my immune system back up. So if I do have a few of the nasty cancer cells trying to grow I will be able to fight them off. I also plan to start Yoga classes to help with relaxation and meditation to relieve stress.
I feel at peace knowing I have been in such great care over these past nine months. My deep gratitude to my oncologist, Diana Willadsen, whom from the very first time I met her had a strong positive attitude to fight this, when everyone else just shook their heads in despair. Also, the awesome support of family and friends, your thoughts and prayers have held me up during this most difficult time in my life. My dear friend Debbie who sat with me day and night in the hospital when I was first diagnosed and always there when I needed anything from slushy drinks to stopping by at 7am to give me a Lovenox injection. All of the special cards, calls, visits, and food from so many genuine friends and relatives, I would list you all but would be afraid of leaving someone out. The successful benefit that involved such a deep commitment from so many special friends, which has enabled me to afford all the extra expenses beyond insurance. My boss, Paul and co-workers who have been so gracious during my times off. My sister, Barb who has been by my side, during chemo treatments and trip to Zion. My children, who have been amazing, they are such strong, motivated, and compassionate adults, of which I am so very proud! And, the strength I have been given from my own personal relationship with God, I know he hears my prayers and every day I see his miracles working in my life!
I do really love you all!