I just got back from my oncology appointment today. Last month my doctor had told me the lump in my breast was gone. My tumor markers had dropped in half. She even took me off my pain medication for my bone cancer because of my progress. It felt good to hear good news for once. Our hope for success in beating the cancer was high.
As I visited with the doctor today she came to the question and answer session. Do you have anything you want to ask me?” she said. “Well how long will I need to be on the oral chemotherapy and the monthly bone cancer shots?” Just like the news of the bone cancer in the emergency room that night we weren’t ready for her answer. She told me I would have to stay on it perhaps for life. “Life?” “You mean like forever?” “Yes, Karen,” she said. “I wish I could give you better news but I can’t.”
The bottom-line is because my cancer is what they call stage IV which means it has spread in my body from the place of origin that it will never go away. I will have to remain on my treatments until they don’t work anymore then they will have to change my medication. They have several oral therapies they can use but when those are all exhausted out then I may need chemotherapy some day down the road. Even that will not cure me but only stop the spread of something that has come to live in my body. She said if it wouldn’t have spread they would have had a better chance of killing the cancer completely had it only stayed in my breast.
She said the pills work to trick the body to stop the spread of the cancer. However after awhile the body catches on and doesn’t fall for the trick and that’s when the medication stops working about the cancer begins to take off again. There are some people that beat the odds and don’t have this problem. I don’t know where I stand in all this. I may be one of those that beat the odds I’ll never know till it happens.
Thanks for all your love and prayers,
**Here is a thank you note I wrote to my doctor’s just a week ago. My thanks to them remains. My love for Jesus grows stronger. I’m slightly scared of the dark but the light is there still shining in my life.
To the staff at my clinic:
As an employee here working behind the scenes, I’ve always been proud of those I work with and for. Unfortunately once in awhile life takes us from behind the scenes and places us up front as it’s done for me recently. Diagnosed with bone and breast cancer just before Christmas life forced me to seek medical attention and I did.
Second to receiving the diagnosis of cancer I was asked by several people what doctor I planned to see. Having the pleasure of working with the Oncology Department over the years I knew immediately where I wanted to go. There was no need for any other opinion. I had already had the first opinion of an ER doctor in Redmond. I didn’t need anyone else’s opinion but Dr. West’s. She handled my case very well as she was thorough, very aggressive, and encouraging.
The care and concern I received so well was not limited to the Oncology department as I found out one night shortly after my first oncology appointment. While I was at my house one evening the phone rang the caller ID indicated it was the clinic where I worked. Figuring it was Dr. West’s office calling to give me more test results I answered the phone. On the line was Dr. Rhode my primary care physician. Some how in the shuffle of the hectic process of being diagnosed with cancer she heard or read what was going on. She told me she was just calling to see if I was doing okay. It really meant something to me to think she had taken it upon herself out of her schedule to check on me.
As our CEO is always sharing patient compliments with us I wanted to make sure I got mine in to share as well because I think those involved need to know how much they are appreciated. It’s rough enough to get such a diagnosis thrown at you out of no where so it’s important to have great supportive care to go along with it. And that’s exactly what I got.
On my first office visit to see Dr. West, Dr. Braich met me at the door of the reception area. Overwhelmed with the news of the cancer thru tears I told him I thought I was going in the wrong door. He knew immediately what I was talking about since as an employee I had always came into their offices from the side doors but as a patient I was entering in a different door. To me it was the wrong door. I wanted to remain the employee not the patient. Dr. Braich was very encouraging that things were going to be okay. A few months have past and because of the care and support I’ve been receiving I have no doubt that I indeed had come in the right door.
Thanks everyone for your great care and overwhelming concern,
Karen J. Gillett, employee and patient