Here's the second part of my posts for the day. Friday we made our trip up to UCSF, but instead of seeing 1 doctor, we tried and barely succeeded in seeing 2. The office manager for the orthopedic surgeon had it all worked out, on paper. But we all know that medical offices are even less reliable than, say, me. Fortunately, both doctors are in the same building. Dr. Wolf, the super hero oncologist, on the 5th flr. Dr. Shane Burch, of some note of his own in the world of spines, on the 3rd flr. Lets just put it this way, nothing went as scheduled or as planned. In the end, we were walking out of Dr. Burch's office at a little after 5pm, and heading to meet with Dr Wolf, who had to water his own office plants while he bided his time, after hours, waiting for us on a Friday afternoon.
Report: They were a little shocked about my having my gall bladder surgery on Monday and being in their office after a 4 hour drive on Friday, but they don't really know yet who they are dealing with (an idiot). Asked about a possible referral to the psyche dept. Dale said yes, I said we didn't have time. It would have been another month before I could have gotten in to see him, so there was no way I was postponing this appointment. Had x-rays done of my lumbar and thoracic spine for Dr. Burch. They showed the 3 vertebra that were previously repositioned by kyphoplasty (T12, L1 & L4). It was interesting to be able to so clearly see how each of the vertebra had to be treated differently, but that all 3 were back in the right position and doing well. Very cool. As to the other 4 thoracic vertebra with stress or compression fractures (T3, T9, T10, T11) not yet treated, the x-ray was less conclusive. It appeared that all of the fractures had healed, but that the little "wings" on the back of each vertebra might be out of place because of the compression of 1 disk on the next. So I need to get a MRI. Two of the vertebra didn't look too bad (T3, T11) and probably won't need anything. The other two (T9, T10) didn't look as good and may need anywhere from some surgery to some physical therapy, cortisone shots, etc. attention in the future. We'll keep you posted.
Report: We just love Dr. Wolf. Regardless of the circumstances, he NEVER makes us feel rushed or that he needs to move on. So he reviewed my blood work. He hadn't gotten the report from Dr Malone on the bone marrow biopsy from early June, so we'll have them send that on Monday. Everything in the blood work shows no signs of cancer. As to the Revlimid, he's the one who wants me to take it every day without a break for 2 years. We talked about the side effects, and he hopes they subside. If not, he suggested that we could consider velcade as my maintenance drug instead of Revlimid, so we'll see. I never had velcade all by itself, and that was during my worst cancer pain. Hopefully, the side effects wouldn't be as bad as the Revlimid. Should be an interesting next The good Dr Wolf was a little miffed to find out that Dr Malone hadn't started me on the Zometa, which is the osteoporosis infusion drug that they've wanted to get me started on. Dr Wold restated that my bones have been severely weakened by the cancer, and he feels strongly about getting it going ASAP. It's a once a month infusion that supposedly gives one flu-like symptoms for day or two. So the question is, if Revlimid gives me headaches, nausea, body aches, muscle aches and night sweats, would the "flu-like" symptoms from the Zometa even be noticable or could they even make the side effects from the Revlimid less noticeable becasue they're so similar and to a much lesser degree. The answer to this, and all those other questions that you'd never thought you'd ever ask, will be explained in future episodes of I'll never do THAT again!
Thousand thank-yous to Hillary who drove us up and back. We left at 9am and got home around 10:10pm. She's just been a wonderful support to both Dale and I and I know she'll be missed at our future appointments by the staff who just adore her.
Please keep the prayers and thoughts coming. I got on facebook, but really don't have a clue on how it all works. I'll have to make Hillary sit down with me again and go through it. So stay in touch through this blog and email. Love to all. Kevin