I had my meeting the the chemical oncologist yesterday. It sealed the deal on chemotherapy. Apparently, just this July, a study reported to a large group of doctors at a conference that the use of chemotherapy on patients with Stage I seminoma cancer is just as effective as radiation over the course of 5 years (the length of the study as of the presentation...it's an on-going study). This is significant because chemo has fewer long term effects than radiation. Angie was sold as well, and frankly, she had greater misgivings about chemo than I did. Something about "not wanting poison pumped into her husband's body." I told her that it was for the greater good, and, hey, all the cancer patients are doing it! Max really didn't care either way, he just wanted to be held.
So, on Friday, December 19th, I'll report to Geisinger at 1pm and sit down for about two hours and get pumped full of carboplatin. Angie will be driving me home and Uncle Dave will be spending some quality time with Max for the day. I'll be nauseous for a couple of days afterward, and then be at my weakest 7-10 days after the treatment. This is when I'll need to watch infection and getting sick and all the usual chemo stuff. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we'll be at Nana's for the holidays. This time, unlike Thanksgiving break, I won't have a paper to write (which, incidentally, I got very high marks on that one) and I can just sit back and be sick. Or lazy. Or both.
This upcoming week is crazy stupid busy. Tomorrow I have to have a set plotted out for class and I have to meet with my Literature and Criticism group in the evening, then I have to set up a presentation of all the work I've done this semester. I have to turn in my final paper in the morning, a group presentation on Thursday afternoon, and the presentation of all my work right after that. I have design class Friday morning and a doctor's appointment Friday afternoon. The weekend looks pretty open, now that I think about it, and Friday will be the last day of classes for the semester. Woo-hoo!
The doctor's appointment on Friday is to see if I have any healthy sperm after the cancer. If I do, I have the option (at a cost) to bank my boys for future use. The chemotherapy may leave me sterile. This is probably the most degrading part of the cancer experience for me. What I view as a very personal matter is going being opened up to a bunch of strangers. Worse yet, if I do need to bank my boys, I have to pay for it. Capitalism at its best. Of course, in another form of society, my personal health and aptitudes may not qualify me to begin with. Gattaga, anyone?
Sometimes, misery doesn't love company. Our close friend, Shawn, and his family are going through a hell of a year. I don't want to speak out of turn, as private matters should remain as such until brought forward by those involved. But what I can say is that I never like to see friends suffer and have to deal with hardship, and this year, I've watched Shawn deal with more than his fair share in 2008. But he's done it with strength and conviction. He's been here for us in more ways that I can count. If you ever need a definition of what a true friend is, I'll talk to you about Shawn. And right now, we wish we could be with him at our favorite bar in Pittsburgh while we put our arms around each other and cry a little and raise our glasses to a bright future and knowledge gained. But circumstance being what they are, we can't be there right now, so instead, we will hope, wish, and pray that he and his family are given some comfort. I would ask that all of you do the same for this dear friend whom we love very much.
Hang in there, buddy.