Part 3 - The Team

David Loofbourrow

Part 3 - The Team

(from CaringBridge 2018)

I am so impressed and thankful for Sutter Health and all of their extensive resources!
Even before I had talked with Dr. M about my diagnosis he had submitted referrals to Sutter Oncology in Roseville. Within a few hours I had an appointment scheduled with Dr. Chellappah, my oncologist. As I get it, she will be the point person of the medical team and continue to be my primary doctor through recovery and ongoing care.
The Sunday before my appointment, I was with a fellow author at a street-faire booth sponsored by our Sacramento authors' group. Scott's partner Mark wanted to know if I had someone to go with me to the oncology appointment. I wasn't sure at that point. A couple of days later he texted to be SURE I had someone and let me know he would be happy to fill the role since I hadn't found someone else. I AM SO THANKFUL FOR MARK and SCOTT who grounded me, asked great questions and took wonderful notes.
Dr. C is great. She explained where we were in the process and who else is involved. I discovered that a Hepatologist (I thought that sounded much like a lizard doctor, but am now assured she is definately a gizzard - liver - doctor.) Dr. Jenny Guy was already on the job, having assigning several blood tests and body scans.  Dr. C confirmed that those actions were appropriate; she will serve as kind of my "second opinion" as other specialists do their thing.
The most encouraging part of my visit with her was understanding that we are not as much 'in crisis' as I was imagining from my meeting with Dr. M. AS OF NOW, she feels the pathology shows the cancer is in a "middle stage" and probably not fast-growing. This gives us some time to be thorough (more chances to "wait"?) with the exploration.
Dr. C laid out the next steps which DO NOT YET involve deciding (or even much useful conjecturing about) the course of treatment. I came to understand that working with cancer is a WHOLE BODY thing. Any competing illness, condition or (especially) additional cancer will guide the decisions to the most effective treatment -- and more importantly -- the best outcomes.
Somehow, this was very reassuring for me. We were starting a no-stone-unturned phase that will result in a clear "current state" picture of ME.
For the most part, I feel fine. However, since the diagnosis I have noticed minor aches and pains I was perhaps ignoring in busyness of my life. A sore place under my sternum (where the tumor is, duh), feeling tired in the afternoon and/or evening, a mild backache in what I would identify as my kidneys that comes and goes. Even my original complaint -- trouble swallowing sometimes and GERD -- is, apparently, a potential clue that will be explored.
So the big takeaway is we "wait" on pinning things down -- there are a LOT of possibilities at this point and nothing is really off the table. We are working through (from my perspective) a massive decision tree that will ultimately focus the team on our best course.
More waiting, but not idol. I've already had 2 blood draws with a pending CT scan and a radiology bone scan in the works. I can tell you my anxiety level goes up and down based on 'getting things done'. I feel really good after a blood test, and again when the blood results come in. And, as days go by without tests getting scheduled or accomplished, my anxiety rises.

Visualize wholeness and health. Imagine genius doctors focusing their best attention on my case. Pray for an atmosphere of peace for EVERYONE involved - including you!

Previous Article Part 2 - Diagnosis to Preparation
Next Article Glowing - and not in the good way
Please login or register to post comments.