The Second Opinion about the Third Step

Posted on November 20, 2012. Filed under: Cancer | Tags: , , , |

Last Monday, Scott and I drove down to Rush University Hospital. Hmmm…I just remembered that I was born there!) Anyway, we met with Dr. Venugopal, a major honcho in leukemia research, for a second opinion about the need for the three ass-kicking drugs I am to take for a year. When I googled the protocols, they were all over the place—from no meds at all for low risk of recurrence, which I was told I was, to two years of meds. I figured a second opinion was in order.

I found Dr. Venugopal through my art instructor’s friend’s wife, (got that?) who works at Rush. He was delightful and informative. He seconded my doc with an explanation: I’m not really low risk for recurrence, so some meds should be in order. He said the primary indicator, which is based on specific levels when diagnosed DOES put me in the low risk category. But the secondary factor puts me in the intermediate risk category. Also, patients usually get drugs for two years, but since I “tolerate” them so well, they increased the dosage and condensed the duration to one year.

Hmmmm… Just because I can stand them, doesn’t mean I should. I’ve been feeling REALLY tired and plugging along. I’m getting skin rashes, extreme dry lips, shaky hands that occasionally cause minor catastrophes (like spilling my FILLED old lady pill tray on the floor). A couple days ago my face started twitching intermittently. SO, next step is to talk to Dr. G about decreasing the doses and going with the two-year plan. If I could feel better, I wouldn’t be opposed, although the light at the end of the tunnel would be longer. Maybe it wouldn’t make a difference anyway…to be discussed at my next doctor appointment next week in Evanston.

It felt good to know my doc was on the right road, and respected by Dr. Veno, but it would have been nice to hear alternatives earlier on. They always ask if I have questions, but mostly I don’t know what questions I should ask. The other good thing was realizing what a pain it would have been to trudge to Rush for treatments on an ongoing basis. I’m much more happy driving up and parking in Evanston.

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    A writer and cancer survivor chronicles her renewed dedication to art and words..

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