There was lots of information flying around the room and it was fast and furious. Preliminary pathology was in but there was not final report released. He explained that he was going to begin treatment based upon the preliminary report and he would also be giving her an injection to strengthen her bones.
As we were discussing the two different medication options, an email buzzed through from the pathologist which he read aloud so we all learned the exact nature of what is on her rib. That interrupted the bone conversation. Fortunately, I had a bit of an agenda on the bone medication and I wanted a good reason why a 45 minute infusion was favored over a 15 second injection. I understand that treatment must always be based upon evidence based science but if all things were created equally, in my mind, time matters.
Unfortunately, newer drugs are not necessarily better drugs and in those cases, the older drug is used. Mostly, I would guess that is dictated by insurance and what they will pay which is a conversation I will not even entertain at this moment. Very fortunately, I had a bit of a heads up on the bone medications and I was able to do some advance research. It seems the infusion medication may create kidney problems. I saw this and I didn't have a chance to really compare both drugs on what, in my mom's case, is a rather important issue.
You see, my mom was diagnosed with renal cancer in 1987. It was an "accidental" finding when they were scanning for breast cancer mets in 1987. The CT of her liver caught a glimpse of one of her kidneys including a mass which was inside that kidney. She now has one kidney. On Friday, as four of us had six different conversations going on at once with this email coming in the midst of it, I asked the doctor if one medication is easier on the kidneys since "she only has one kidney."
Conversation over. "Thank you for reminding me..... yes, she will get the 15 second injection. The drip drug can be damaging to the kidneys." He is a rock star and I am confident when things calmed down in the room and before anything was administered, he would have realized this on his own. He doesn't drop the ball with details. I just happened to throw the kidney detail out there quicker.
Of course, once again, my agenda was time. Do we see a theme emerging? Last week, the time involved traffic patterns. One week later, it involved the time it takes for an IV bag to drip. Not that it would have bothered me to sit there because it would not have bothered me a bit. Sitting in the chemo suite to have the infusion. Not so sure...... THAT may have bothered both of us. Crisis averted.
And then, the best part of the visit? The orange information cards MSKCC has available for every conceivable thing. I have quite a collection. One for each chemo drug, one for avoiding germs (seems to be a very big deal right now, especially in NYC and in particular within the walls of the hospital), another for assessing proper healing of incisions.... these are all from my own treatment in 2006 and 2007.
On Friday, I walked to the display which is in the exam room. I was intrigued and when we got to the reception area, the woman behind the desk saw the card in my hand and said, "You have no idea how many of those cards fly out of here and HOW MANY PEOPLE tell me they are so glad to see that they are NOT GOING CRAZY." I like her lots and I laughed. If I didn't like her, I probably would have smirked or gone to the condescending place. Major Major Major Props to the MSK Patient Info Fact Card Team. You're blazing a trail......
Although they are careful not to mention chemotherapy as a cause, THIS is a start, don't ya think? THAT... and the card was created in 2004, revised in 2009 and I never saw the thing until 2013. Where have they been hiding them.... that's what I'd like to know. And, the part about "might want to limit the number of drinks" if you don't remember what happened after having a few drinks..... Helpful on the card, helpful for the memory but probably more helpful as a reminder on "girl's night out." Just sayin'