Friday, April 3, 2015

Big Decisions on April 14th

We got the call a couple days ago, alerting us to the date of Chad's first meeting with his VA Oncologist. April 14th is the big day and it is with mixed emotions that we prepare for this visit.

"Dr V" will be his oncologist and the first (and only) encounter we had with him was less than pleasant. During this entire ordeal, while definitely challenging - most of the medical professionals we had dealt with were compassionate and wonderful. Dr V was the very first person that frustrated us beyond belief and left us feeling discouraged. Granted, in the end he did what we requested and we got where we needed to go - but that doesn't make my first impression of him any better.

This is the same individual who refused to look me in the eye when I spoke. The same individual who wouldn't even read the material I supplied for him. He was insistent that Chad didn't need anything more than a right-hemicolectomy. He was basing his opinion on absolutely nothing of course but it was his opinion nonetheless.

Thankfully, he was right. Chad's cancer did not spread and while I am beyond grateful that Dr. V was right, I won't pretend I am not dreading his "I Told You So" attitude that he is bound to have. But  let me tell you this; If he even so much as TRIES to take that road with us, tries to disrespect us, I will have chosen words for him. From Day One, we have always had the hope that things would work out the way we prayed they would (and did) but there was still always a chance - they wouldn't. Still is really because who knows what the future holds. The road we took was long and hard but we have no regrets because Chad has something he would NEVER have had with going with the VA. Peace of mind. And that's priceless.

We know Chad received care from one of the very best specialist in the USA for Appendix cancer. He knows his surgeon was thorough and knew what to look for. He was a surgical oncologist who lives and breathes this cancer every single day and he is far better than anyone within the VA network. I will give Dr. V a second chance but he better ensure this time, he is as prepared as we will be.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. Decisions. Chemo or no Chemo?

There are very few people who catch this cancer as early as Chad did. Some doctors (including Dr Sardi) say Chemo is not necessary. Some will say, depending on the pathology, it may decrease your chance of recurrence. At the end of the day it really is a personal decision.

My fear? Dr V won't even make it an option. Then again, Chad doesn't want chemo (of course he doesn't, who would?) but I would like to know his best possible line of offense. I don't want to keep playing defense incase cancer comes back. In my mind, everything possible should be done to prevent it, and if six months of chemo even gives him a 2% higher chance of ensuring it doesn't return, it's worth it to me. Provided he doesn't get too sick. That's the kicker. Is it worth it? Will his quality of life suffer? Will he spend hours hooked up to an IV, will it be pills? Will he be miserable and sick and unable to function day to day? Or will it just be another pill that can, in the long run, strengthen his chances.

Decisions, decision. Worst part is, I don't trust Dr. V. I don't trust his opinion or his decisions. So I need to make sure I am as well prepared as humanly possible prior to going into this meeting.

If you read this, please pray for clarity. Please pray for strength and please pray that Chad's recovery gets a little better. I get concerned as some symptoms don't seem to be getting better - then again, he's literally one month out of surgery. Patience.

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