Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1st Meeting With My Oncologist

Today I met with my oncologist for the first time - she's pretty awesome.  Super nice and very informative.  This is kind of long post, but here's all the information I have so far:

Tests, Tests, and More Tests
In the next couple of weeks, I'll have to have:

  • Bone Marrow Biopsy (not looking forward to this one) to make sure the cancer hasn't spread to my bone marrow - not likely but they test anyway.  Read more about it here.
  • Heart and Lung function tests - the chemo can cause heart and lung complications, so they test everyone first to make sure everything is normal - which it should be
  • PET scan to see if the cancer is anywhere but in the one zone of lymph nodes - not very likely and this will determine what stage I'm in (which we're still assuming it's Stage I)
  • Surgery to have the port put in - the port will be placed under my skin on my upper chest and will be used for blood draws, IV medicine, and chemo.  
  • Blood Work out the Wazoo to check pretty much everything else
Bloodwork - can be done any time before August 5th so I'll probably just go get it done this week
PET Scan and Heart and Lung Tests - all scheduled for Tuesday, August 6 - these will take pretty much all day
Bone Marrow Biopsy - scheduled for Friday, August 9
Port Surgery - not sure yet, they will call me in a day or two and let me know when the surgeon can get me in (possibly next week, but probably early the next week)
Chemo - first round will be Monday August 19

Chemo begins August 19.  I will have a minimum of 6 treatments, which is considered 3 "rounds," of ABVD, which is actually 4 different types of chemo.  Read more about ABVD here.  Each treatment will last 3-4 hours and will be done at the Hemotology and Oncology Center of Indianapolis (next to St.Vincent Hospital on 86th Street).  They basically hook me up and let me sit - sounds fun, right?  Visitors welcome :)

I'll be able to drive myself to chemo treatments, but the doctor said I may be tired after treatments and may prefer to have a ride.  I figure I'll see how I do for the first one (Josh is taking me to that one) and decide if I need rides or not.  This may be something we need help with.

After 6 treatments, I'll have another PET scan to determine how the treatment is working and how much more chemo (if any) I'll need.  If the tumors are gone after 6 treatments, they may move right into Radiation and do that for about a month.

The most common side effect is nausea, which is apparently worse in young people (weird, huh?).  They'll give me anti-nausea medication through my port before each chemo session and they'll send me home with anti-nausea prescriptions.  Fatigue is the other big side effect, which will limit some work and social activities.

Hair Loss
Unfortunately this is going to happen.  Type of treatment I'll be receiving almost always causes hair loss.  But that means we get to have a head-shaving party and I get to pick out some fun wigs, hats, and scarves.  I'm thinking a bright pink wig, what do you think?!  :)

In all honesty, I know this part will super duper suck - but it's just hair, I'll get over it!  Hair loss is expected about 2-3 weeks after my chemo starts.

That's about it on my first appointment.  I'm anxious to get all my tests done and get started on chemo to get this thing out of my body!  Keep me in your thoughts and please keep Josh and the rest of my family in your thoughts, too - I'm sure this is just as hard on them.  More updates to come!



  1. We've been thinking about you a lot this week. I'm so impressed with your attitude and your drive to beat this cancer. I think a head-shaving party would be awesome. Go Melissa!

  2. Thanks Snoop, I appreciate it!

  3. If you ever need a ride Melissa just let me know. If I can help I will!!
    Prayin for you
    Tonya Penn