December 16th, 2008: I had a great visit today with Dr. O’Donnell. He’s the orthopedic surgeon who performed the open biopsy on me to help determine what sort of tumor I am hosting. He probably knows the tumor better than anyone since he has seen it visually, taken a chunk of it for the pathology lab to study, plus he has examined the PET and MRI scans very carefully. He asked me to walk. When I got up and headed for the door, he got very excited since I wasn’t doing my “rotate around the tumor” where my right leg would swing out to circumvent the cancerous mass. Also, I am able to sit without being immediately uncomfortable. He palpated the site and kept exclaiming, “The chemo is really working for you. Wow, this is great! The shrinkage is dramatic.” Finally, he finished with a burst of enthusiasm, “I can’t wait to see your scans!”
Of course, I was very happy with his examination as well. He did caution that in the next month or two, it would be important to keep the original surgical team closely informed about the progress of the chemo and the results of the scans. If there is to be surgery, then the team would need to be lined up six weeks or so ahead of the date, and the operating room would need to be booked as well. Like planning ahead for an opera, the big star surgeons need to be in the same operating theatre at the same time. Dr. O’Donnell wanted to make sure that the success of the chemo doesn’t cause the future stages of my healing to be forgotten. It would be a real setback to have three or four courses of chemo and then have to wait six or eight weeks for a surgery just because it wasn’t scheduled early enough. That could give the tumor a chance to regain some bulk. Don’t want that.