Thursday, July 17, 2008

CT Scan Results, Detailed Diagnosis, Treatment Plan

Though my follow-up appointment with Dr. Monson was scheduled for immediately after the CT Scan, his office was totally slammed that day and we were informed that “Dr. Monson is running a full hour behind.” Even so, we (my wife, Holly, and brother-in-law Dan joined me today) were ushered into Room 3 after only about 45 minutes of waiting in the lobby. But this was just the beginning of our wait.

The things we do when we’re bored
We’re all bored to tears and anxious to hear how things went with the CT scan as well as hear about the treatment plan. So what to do in the meantime? Captain Dan calls for an impromptu inspection of our room and a full light check (pictured). I have to hand it to Dan – he sure made the wait bearable.

The Doctor is IN
Dr. Monson explained that the CT scan looked good to him, though we would have to wait for the “official” radiology report to be sure. What a relief. “So does this mean that the treatment plan is Radiation Therapy?”, I blurted out. “Well, not so fast. I think all of your questions will be answered in just a minute” was the response. I knew this wasn’t good.

Making the Grade
It turns out that there are different grades of sarcoma, most notably low grade and high grade. Low grade is commonly treated with radiation therapy whereas high grade typically requires treatment with chemotherapy. I am told that a further review of my biopsy slides indicated the presence of the Round Cell component, which makes me “high grade”. Because of the “high grade” classification, this puts me at Stage III in the cancer stage grouping. The recommended treatment, therefore, is chemotherapy.

Treatment Plan -- a.k.a., Battle of the Bulge
The chemotherapy is expected to be administered in 3-week intervals for about 3 months. Radiation therapy may be used as well. Once that's all over, they will surgically remove the mass, which should be non-cancerous at that point.

Dr. Gina D’Amato (an oncologist and sarcoma specialist) will be managing my chemotherapy. I meet with her next Thursday afternoon (7/24).

International Sarcoma Awareness Week
Quite surprisingly, I found out that July 12 – 20 was International Sarcoma Awareness Week. Furthermore, there was an event just yesterday in the Atlanta area that included a Walk for Sarcoma Awareness. If only I had known earlier, I would have gone.

50 specialists can’t be wrong!
It turns out that a group of doctors (sarcoma specialists I believe) happened to be in Atlanta this week for a Sarcoma conference (in conjunction with Sarcoma Awareness Week). I am told that my case was presented to this group of doctors and various treatment options were discussed. But the overriding consensus amongst these doctors was that Chemotherapy was my best option as it seems to do a good job of attacking the round cells that I have. I guess there’s not much call for a second opinion here since I already have 50.

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