I saw Dr. Bouncy. I saw the radiation oncologist. I saw the orthopedist.
Here's the upshot:
1. Against my better judgment, I am reluctantly following Dr. B's insistence that I switch to Faslodex. He wants to have another scan in two months, and if there is any progression at all, he will push hard for chemo. And let's face it, sooner or later it will come down to that fight - probably over and over again. Just thinking about it makes me tired.
2. At the meeting with Dr. B, the radiation doctor suggested two weeks of high dose radiation. When we went for the requisite scans and measurements, she changed this to three weeks. I'm hoping I won't see her again before the three weeks are over; she might raise the bid to three months.
We start treatment on Monday.
3. The orthopod wants to see me two weeks or so after the radiation treatment is done. It may be advisable to fill my the area in my left hip with bone cement, in order to try to stabilize the area. This involves punching holes through the left hip and into what is evidently two separate but adjacent tumor sites. Unfortunately, even if the tumors die off and stabilize, they do not leave nice empty spaces where they used to be - they leave soft stuff, sort of like fragile coral. The cement would have to sort of seep into whatever spaces might be available, and we don't know how stable it really would be.
We wouldn't consider this option for the tumor in the right hip - that area is not structurally unstable, so the potential benefits would not outweigh the risks. It's not a procedure that has been done a lot in the past - primarily it's been used to stabilize fracturing vertebrae, which are smaller and have less internal space to fill - so we don't know how well it would work in the long run. There's a fair risk of fracture or of problems, whether or not I decide to do the surgery. There will be more consultations between doctors before the option is even considered reasonably viable.
So that's where we are. Balancing, weighing, making decisions that will lead to other decisions. And down the road... well, we don't want to go there until we're forced to do so.
So this weekend I'll go down the road I know I want to travel. We will go down the Great River Road, stopping at our favorite berry-picking place. I will sit before a blooming garden on a high hill, picking juicy blueberries while watching the shadows of clouds scurry across the valley below and then on to the rolling hills across the way. I will feel the breeze caress my cheek, I will listen to the buzz of bees and the lowing of cows, and I will breathe in the smell of the good rich earth. For that time at least, I will savor being alive.
The rest will wait.