Friday, February 8, 2013

Doctor Doctor Give Me the News

I met today with Dr. Collins at UT Southwestern and he was fabulous - no need to look any farther!  In fact, the entire place and every person in it was incredible.  After we dropped the car at valet parking, we walked into an airy entrance with a 20' orange Chihuly sculpture.  We climbed the floating stairs to the second floor, where they whisked us through reception within minutes, did bloodwork before I could sip my chai tea, and within minutes we had met the key team members.

Jaime, the very personable physician's assistant for Dr. Collins, did a thorough interview and then briefed the doctor.  Next came Dr. Collins, who explained what they knew, didn't know, and outlined our approach.  He explained very complex medical stuff in terms we could understand, and patiently answered every question (and I had a notebook full of them) as though I was the first patient of the week instead of the last one at 6 p.m. on Friday.  He made sure we understood next steps, gave us his cell and pager numbers, and encouraged us to call.  Gary and I were both highly impressed.

Once again, I think all my doctors are straight from Central Casting - maybe Dallas is just THE place to be to get charming, good-looking doctors at the top of their profession.  Here's Jaime and Dr. Collins (who looks young but is indeed the director of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at UTSW's Simmons Cancer Center):

So the net net is:  I have diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.  We won't know exactly what stage until I go through more tests: a full body PET scan and a bone marrow biopsy are being lined up for next week, and the following week I'll get the full news.  What I DO know is that I will have chemo again over 12 weeks, followed by 4 weeks of daily radiation, and I might have other treatments pending results of next week's tests.  Chemo will be R-CHOP, a pretty intense chemo cocktail to reach all of those little cells gone bad wherever they've travelled through my bloodstream.

So my big questions now are:
- I'm way overdue for a haircut:  do I spend $$$ and look great for 2 weeks?  or just treasure my long hair until it all falls out again a couple of weeks from now?
- Since I have to get tattoos for radiation, do I just have the dots done or have them do tasteful little butterflies so I can knock 'get a tattoo' off my bucket list?

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