The "Getting Me Ready For Chemo" Letter

Dear Dr. Ramirez,

I have checked and I am scheduled for chemo at 10 am on Tuesday. I am scheduled to meet with you to discuss chemo right before that….. Here are the things I wish I could hear in that meeting; I know you have said some of them already, I just wish I could hear them again:

  • I can’t believe you left the hospital 12 hours after surgery and went out to lunch!
  • This is amazing…you have such a strong, healthy body!
  • You were out passing a football (note: I really NEED to TELL you that I don’t “toss” a football!) 4 days after surgery!!! That is awesome!
  • Keep up that spirit!
  • 4 Wheeling?? 10 days out?? Go for it…enjoy life!
  • I am proud of you!
  • You can do this, keep going and don’t look back!
  • Cross the finish line with gusto…this is not a repetitive loop!

….if you want to, you could read me what Dr. Cliby, the lead researcher on the study you sent me, told me after he read my records….I tracked him down to ask him how I looked when compared to the people in the study…he said I was in better shape than they were as they had more LN involvement….here is the rest of what he said….

  • I am in a good class for prognosis because it was primarily limited to the ovaries
  • It does have the capacity to leave the ovaries, as evidenced by the node
  • The node had only microscopic involvement which was good
  • Chemo is to get rid of any remaining microscopic cells but the fact that there is no identifiable residual disease is strongly in my favor
  • My situation is ‘very promising as there was a very small amount of spread’
  • I had a remarkable recovery from surgery and that he thinks I will have a remarkable experience with chemo
  • The number of lymph nodes taken from the pelvis were small but it didn’t matter as the point was to see if they had cancer and they didn’t
  • 57% in my class have no recurrence at all, and my biggest point in my favor here is there is no peritoneal disease
  • The 5 yr survival rate is 75%
  • Treatment is the same no matter which stage—Get Treated!
  • Dr. Ramirez is a very good doctor
  • I have every reason to be optimistic about a non recurrence

It occurs to me that you may be wanting to, in a nutshell, tell me that chemo can kill me….
I guess I should tell you bigger things have tried! Basically, as I think about the information concerning negative effects chemo might have, I have 3 questions:

  1. Do I have a choice about chemo if I want to get over this, never have it come back and move on with my life?” if answer to A is no, go to B
  2. Do you feel you have a legal or moral obligation to verbally relay all the bad things that could happen to me with me in the room? If the answer to B is yes, go to C
  3. Would you mind terribly if I wore my headphones? >>>>>>>>> I mean just during this part of the discussion… I don’t want to miss a minute of the part above…. :)

Here is how I see it:

  • If I have numbness or tingling in my hands or feet, throw up a lot, feel so tired I can’t function, can’t use my bladder or colon, or have strange, weird, or otherwise disconcerting things happen to my body, I’ll tell you
  • If I need to be rocked, held, told I am beautiful no matter what, assured I go out and play, be reminded of my strong will, have my faith in God’s power renewed or need to hear the loud voice of someone cheering me on, I’ll tell my boyfriend
  • If I am scared of the future, worried about my babies, feel lost, or like I can’t tell where this road is going, need to have my spirit renewed, need to be reminded of the many miracles already performed in my life, or need reassurance that a force much more powerful than I can imagine is guarding me, I’ll tell God

Between the three of you, I am sure you can work it all out while I am in the gym….


Tamarin