Today we went back to the Oncologist to see if there was any news on alternative treatments for Julia or a restart of the treatment that finished in December when her lungs reacted badly to the drugs. To be honest I was prepared not to go in with Julia, my daughter and my niece because they drool all over poor Dr Garcia and having me there is an obvious distraction being the upstanding citizen I am. My niece had an appointment of her own and wasn’t able to join us so I felt perhaps I could go in and keep my two in order. As it happened I didn’t have to. When Julia’s name was called we took her to be weighed…8st 4 lb including her riding boots etc. I’m quite pleased. Then we were led to a room I haven’t visited before.
Once there we were introduced to Dr. Smith, a very attractive lady of indeterminate accent ( though just possibly S’African or New Zealand). She explained that though she hadn’t met us before she knew Julia very well as she’s responsible for brewing all the concoctions Julia has had to take. She started to go through the notes with us to make sure we were aware f the current situation and left herself open for questions if there were any. There certainly were !! We have had explanations previously as to why Julia could not be operated on the main one being that the tumour being so badly placed that it had enclosed a series of arteries that would make an operation difficult. We asked about the possibility of replacing the pancreas with a manufactured one which had been suggested by an avid fund raiser who wanted Julia to be the first to undergo this operation in the US. We were informed this couldn’t happen as the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes and any operation to replace the pancreas wouldn’t solve that problem and may even exacerbate it. We hadn’t been told this before. Why? Possibly because Dr. Garcia wanted to sugar coat any news rather than cause more worry for Julia. So now we have to adjust ourselves to that news. We were also told that there is the possibility of a different chemo which wasn’t mentioned before either or maybe even the same chemo at a reduced dose. First things first though, let’s arrange a new scan in about 5/6 weeks to see how things actually stand. It’s probable that we’ll see an increase in the tumour size again since it’s been 3 months without treatment of any kind. But, said Dr. Smith, Julia’s positivity is obviously making a great deal of difference to her and it may be best to leave any treatment alone until any symptoms start showing again. Pain or discomfort will be a good reason to revisit the situation but since we don’t want to disturb the lymph nodes if they are quiescent lets leave well enough alone for now.
So there we have it. The new Doctor is pretty and pretty smart too. Didn’t treat us as children unable to take bad news and accepted we’re adults. She was actually amazed at Julia going horse riding and has not had a pancreatic patient present herself looking as well as this at this stage. It certainly pays not to roll over and say die when the ‘C’ word is mentioned. I’m very proud of my wife and the fight she’s putting up. I hope sometime it may just give someone else a little hope.