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Yesterday was first appointment with oncologist..


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I went with my FIL and MIL to my FIL's first appointment with the oncologist yesterday.

Unfortunately, we started out with a fight. He is not cleared to drive by the surgeon until Oct 15th...he insisted that he could drive because it had been 3 weeks and said that he had already been driving. I told him that my understanding from my BIL's notes from the visit with the surgeon on 9/27 was that he could drive in 3 more weeks, and that they had specifically said Oct 15th as the target day. They live in a small town and I guess I don't have a lot of concerns if he wants to drive to the post office, etc. but we were going into a bigger town to the drs office, and I worry that if there was ever an accident, that their insurance company wouldn't cover it since he hadn't been cleared for driving. Anyway, he got mad at me, but did end up letting me drive.

Unfortunately, the dr started out with telling them the statistics, which I think that they were totally unprepared for - with stage III cancer, chances of recurrence within one year with surgery alone is 60%. Adding chemo will give him an additional 5% chance of nonrecurrence. I know that we shouldnt listen to statistics...but it is still hard to hear.

What they are recommending are 4 sessions of Taxol-Carboplaten, with 3 weeks in between sessions, provided his blood counts are ok. They are concerned with his kidney function because I guess that is a bit off, but will monitor and make any dosage adjustments if needed to spare his kidneys.

They are not recommending radiation - he said that in a situation where they did surgery to remove the tumor and some of the lymph nodes, that there is not evidence to support that radiation increases odds of nonrecurrence - any thoughts on that? They would rather do a higher dose of chemo, and if they did radiation would have to do a lower dosage of chemo.

My FIL did not want to get a second opinion on this, and did not want to schedule an appointment with the radiology people to get their input. He just wants to move forward and get started.

So...they scheduled his first chemo round on Oct 19th.

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Darci, hang in there. It is good you are helping out. I agree with you on the driving. Just understand that your FIL is trying to recapture some normalcy in his life.

Radiation is normally used only if there is severe pain in an area (to alleviate the pain) or if there is threat, such as bone fracture, impingement on a vessel, etc. This is because radiation can only be used once in an area, and they would rather wait to use it when really needed. Don

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I know how hard the driving issue must have been for you to handle. That freedom is very hard for many people to surrender. I was amazed that Dennis just seemed to realize he wasn't able to drive and would walk around to the passenger side. For 25 years, he had always been the one to drive when we were traveling together. It sounds like your FIL has a good mindset about the treatments and is ready to fight this monster. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

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Independent people having their independence taken away is a real tough one to handle for all involved. Fortunately your FIL will regain that independence to drive again. But when it comes to a safety/insurance issue, they really don't have much choice. Glad you were there for him. I'm sure your FIL won't be angry with you for long. Deep down, he knows you were right.

Glad there's a plan in place for your FIL's treatment.

gail p-m

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