Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The New Doctor

A new day, a new doctor, a new hospital, a new start. 

I love our new doctor.  First, he looks like a young Antonio Bandera.  He is from Lebanon, yet his accent is very subtle.  He is young, passionate about what he does and believes in staying up with all the latest information.  Even when he is saying life expectancy is 12 – 24 months, it does not sound like a death sentence.  He filled me with hope. 

He said that the type of cancer that I have been diagnosed with is a stage 4.  But he calls it “cup”, carcinoma unknown primary.  Then he took a few minutes to review the records with Judy and me that Dr. B’s office had sent over.  Mary is in Roseland with Mr. Moon and could not be there today.  It felt like she was there with us, she is such an important part of this journey.    

But Dr. M said that he could not determine, based on the tests that have been run so far what type of cancer I have.  So now, I will have the PET scan.  Dr. B said it was of no value.  This new doctor said, it is standard practice and very important to help diagnose this cancer.  He also has set up an upper and lower endoscopy.  OK, I am not excited about getting a colonoscopy, but it is an important test to determine what type of cancer I have. 

I was fine with Dr. B’s diagnosis.  I mean I can go on line and find it.  And I had to have a positive attitude and do the best I could by the doctor I had.  But that was before months into the treatment, that he finally decided to make the “incurable” cancer statement.  After that, and honestly a couple of other things, I lost confidence in him.  It is hard to go through what you have to with cancer if you do not have faith in your doctor.

OK, Dr. M is saying incurable, but he said it the very first visit.  He also said whatever the type of cancer, it is stage 4 because it has metastasized, but until we know more about the primary source, we cannot make any prognosis. 

He was very professional, personable and passionate.  He actually did a physical exam.  Dr. B never touched me that I remember.  Dr. M got in there and checked the lymph nodes.  He seemed positive after that exam.  He has already set up the endoscopy and I should know more about the colonoscopy tomorrow, and then the PET scan, and then more blood work before next Friday.  He wants to be able to determine as much about this cancer as quickly as possible so he can develop the plan. 

After the chemo did not appear to affect the cancer, Dr. B was basically done with me.  There was no talk about future care, it was call me if you need something.  Dr. M made it clear that this is for the rest of my life.  He isn’t promising me a longer life, but he did make it clear that he was in for the long haul.  And everyone we met today was professional and so personable.  And the facility is beautiful.  And they don’t just take in to consideration of the patient, but also the caregivers that bring the patient in.

Can you tell how hopeful I feel?  I mean I really don’t have that much more to be hopeful about, but I feel more hopeful.  I feel like this doctor is going to do his best to give me a life.  A life for however long it lasts.  I still don’t believe it is how long you live.  It is how well you live, and that is what he is offering me.

I felt so good that when I talked to Rich this evening I told him that if he still had the opportunity to go to NY for Thanksgiving, I wanted to go with him.  I mean if I am only going to live a few more years, I am not waiting to live.  I can’t make any decisions yet concerning my retirement and how to deal with my money until I get the diagnosis, but I know that I have worked hard and put away money.  Yes, I have lived a busy and active life, and there is no reason to stop now.  Based on what the doctor finds with the tests will determine making arrangements for Vicki and me to go to Scotland.  I will never be rich, but I can do the things that are most important to me. 

The chemo might interfere with trying to determine the source of the cancer, but Dr. M thinks it is still worth looking.  He says that I might have to have more chemo, but that will be based on more tests and information.  Not the buckshot chemo treatment, as Judy put it.  Try the most common chemo and hope it is close enough.  Dr. M of course did not say anything directly against Dr. B.  But he did refer to the treatment that I had gotten from Dr. B as what a doctor reading a book can do.  The treatment will only be as up to date as the book, and really, anyone can do that.  Dr. M wants more facts so that he can search for the best and latest treatment to give me the best opportunities he can. 

I don’t remember everything that happened or was said today.  I just remember I liked how this man talked to us, treated us and when we went to leave, Judy and I stuck out our hands to him and said, “Welcome to our Team”  He made some comment about how excited he was to be a part of our team.  Now that is special. 

Hope.   Hope does not mean everything is going to be fixed immediately.  That is what our President keeps trying to remind us.  Hope is the starting place.  There is a lot of hard work that comes after hope.  And just because I have hope, it doesn’t mean that I am going to live forever.  But it does mean that I have hope that this journey is going to be the best journey I can have.  I just can’t believe that I could be dead in the next year or even within 5 years.  I feel so alive.  I am not afraid.  It just does not feel real.  Maybe that is what hope does for us.  It makes us feel alive and that anything is possible.  Let’s not forget to do the work to make that happen.  And I am ready.  I have the hope, and I am ready to do what this man asks of me to give him the information to give me the best treatment possible.

Hope.  A new day, a new doctor, a new hospital, a new start.


  1. This is the best news I've heard all month. So glad you went for another opinion.

    faith hope and love

  2. Excellent!! Very glad you liked the new doctor. I am thinking of you.

  3. Awesome. Dr. M sounds like he's a great fit for the team. So awesome!

  4. Hope is the best currency for life. Glad you have found a doctor with vision.

    Take care.

  5. That is all really good news. The positive attitude from the doctor is refreshing, and I hope it yields some good results.
    We missed you at the little guy's party, but we totally understood!

  6. Today is a good day - I'm so pleased for you.

  7. I can't wait to meet Dr. M.
    At the very least, if he looks like Antonio Banderas, I'm in.
    Sending love and loving the hope...Mary

  8. okay, this seriously made my eyes well up.
    you felt respected and whole and alive.

    good for you for doing this.
    i learned something incredibly invaluable. I have terrible tendency to never second guess. See.

  9. I'm so relieved and happy for you!!!!!!!!!!! And the rest of team K, of course! (me included!) I so know that feeling of going from an apathetic, bored with your career type of doctor to a really enthusiastic, caring, creative one who is diligent and believes down to his bones in his ability as some one who heals the person as well as treating the symptoms of disease.


  10. Thank God you have this new doctor. I am very much relieved. I feel much better now just knowing that you have a good doctor and team and cancer center.