While sheltering in a battered waiting room, bullets whistling past my ears, I pause to breathe and reload. My oncologist is blowing a bugle, not quite the cavalry, but, fuck, at least he's on a horse and he's reaching out his arm to pull me up.
Unlike your over-worked, stressed GP who is always looking at his watch to see if you've hit your fifteen minute limit for an appointment, the over-worked, stressed oncologist takes as long as it takes with you. There are no hypochondriacs here.
He lays down the battle plan for forty-five minutes.
And here's how we attack:
He still wants to wait a couple of months (ideally he wants even more than that) to see how the cancer in my liver is behaving. He also understands our fear, our need, to not be sitting around waiting to do nothing. So in those couple of months we will try the other two forms of chemotherapy for cancers like I have and to combine that with a monoclonal antibody called Avastin. Chemo fights the tumour, the antibody fights the blood vessels feeding the tumour. Unfortunately, Avastin is not part of Medicare or the private health system's funding at this stage, so we're having to come up with $20,000 to do it. Our parents have said they will help us here, which is a great relief.
After a couple of months I get another CT scan. What do we want to see? Tumour shrinkage, reduction in the number of tumours, you know, that sort of life-affirming thing. If the cancer responds to the treatment, then we continue it. if it hasn't, and there are no further spots, then surgery becomes a good course of action. If there are more spots, then we hit it with direct radiation.
Combine all this with the diet and the meditation and healing course, and, hopefully, exercise, then I am throwing everything I possibly can at it. Except for the coffee enemas. My surgeon advised me not to, or, as he said, "I'd prefer you didn't", and especially seeing I have a Frankenstein's Monster stitched up down inside there. The risks are just a teensy bit higher than normal.
And the only coffee I'm drinking at the moment is Dandelion Root coffee. It's not so bad. I notice I'm the only one in the house drinking it though.
Time to start squeezing that trigger...