The reality of the situation has been sinking in slowly...
We have used every defense from humor to denial to help us cope with the hand we have been dealt.
Meeting with the oncologist was a big reality check and we have been feeling raw and anxious since. When you read in a book that someone feels like they have been punched in the gut, that is exactly what it feels like. It hurts and is a nagging ache that does not easily go away.
I had been researching all of the possible treatments for her cancer at her diagnosed stage. I had planned in my mind what chemotherapy I'd like her to have and anticipated the side effects we would face together. I felt the best approach would be to balance efficacy and toxicity and choose medications that were more gentle. I pulled dozens of studies comparing the treatment options available and tried to think through the consequences of each one. Pharmacy school trained me well in understanding these studies and interpreting the results so they can be used in real life situations. But neither pharmacy nor PA school prepared me for the emotional turmoil of trying to relate these studies to our situation... to decipher the data and use it to save my wife.
I was surprised when the oncologist told us that she wanted to be as aggressive as possible despite the side effects and toxicity. She wants to put a port into JaNae's chest through which we will willingly infuse poison every 2 weeks for 6 months... JaNae will likely lose her hair... She will be sick... She will be more tired than she has ever been... Her immune system will be shocked by the chemotherapy to where she will not even be allowed to hug the kids in her Primary class... She may lose feeling in her hands and feet permanently... And after all of this... we meet with a radiation oncologist next week to decide whether to use radiation as well.
She will be on oxaliplatin, leucovorin, and 5 fluorouracil. All of these are pretty standard but some people don't have to take the oxaliplatin... and she wants to use aggressive doses with JaNae. She will take other medications to help with nausea and other side effects. She'll have a surgical procedure on July 5th to place the port in her chest and start chemotherapy July 9th.
Like I said, after all of my reading I was very surprised by how aggressive the doctor wants to be with the treatment of this cancer... but then she looked at me as if she knew what I was thinking and said "We HAVE to be offensive and use every weapon we have to get ahead of this cancer because once it gets away from us, it is very hard to stop... and you have a five year old at home who needs his mother. It's my job to save her for him... It's your job to be a supportive husband."