First Office Visit - (Journal Date: 2/16/05)
The High Point Regional Health System HPRHS Cancer Center is a new, state-of-the-art facility. My wife and I were pleasantly surprised by how modern and bright the facility and all the ammentities were. We broused through the Tommie M. Thomas Resource Center which contained information in several formats including books, tapes, CD's and even internet access. We selected several books and were so pleased to find out that they were complimentary from either the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, or from HPRHS.
We were even more satisfied to meet my oncologist from Emerywood Hematology/Oncology. It was a blessing to be assigned to a highly intelligent and dedicated physician, but more importantly a caring person who took the time to listen and understand my feelings and our concerns. We learned that he too is a father, a christian, a golfer, and he made us feel comfortable immediately. I was ready to get to work and we now had a common mission to knock this thing out....and time was a wasting!!
We learned that lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the body's immune system that runs throughout the whole body to defend against illness or infection. Most all cases of lymphoma are not preventable. Additionally, lymphoma can be one of the most treatable types of cancer.
The first order of business was going to be to learn more about my disease, its grade, its staging, and to determine if it had metastasized (spread) to any other areas. A Bone Marrow Biopsy was scheduled for Feb. 17 and a CT Scan scheduled for Feb. 18. Things were happening quickly now, and the emotions were quite high in anticipation of test results, consequences, and ultimately the decisions on treatment.
The office visit wrapped up with some additional advise about eating healthy and not losing weight since I would need to be strong for chemotherapy. He let me know up front that he would push me with the chemo, but I always liked to take on a good challenge. Finally, he observed the fear in my wife's eyes that accompanies a spouse that is thrown into this journey and wants to help but isn't sure what to do. He cared enough to extend to her a hug and to let both of us know that the goal, for a patient of my age and health status, was going to be a complete cure and nothing less. How's that for POSITIVE!!!
At this point, I was able to inform my office staff, bosses, a neighbor, and perhaps the most difficult...our precious daughters. The literature we read was very convincing that they should be informed early, yet it needed to be simple and accurate. Kids are extremely resilient and they were encouraged to ask any questions about Daddy's disease at any time. We planned to have several more follow-up talks with them together and individually as information came along and they were ready for it.
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