We finally got things worked out with an Oncologist here in Corpus Christi!! I will start receiving my treatments here on Tuesday. That means no more commuting to San Antonio each week!
When I was originally diagnosed with Cancer, we immediately tried to get into M.D. Anderson in Houston. If you’re not familiar with M.D. Anderson, it is the top rated Cancer Treatment and Research Facility in the U.S. Unfortunately, because the V.A. was paying my way, M.D. Anderson said NO! You see, the V.A. has such a terrible reputation for paying their bills that many facilities and doctors would prefer not to accept those patients at all. Fortunately we found the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) in San Antonio. It is part of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Best of all, it’s one of the top 3 rated Cancer centers in the State of Texas.
My surgeons came from CTRC. I can tell you, I would not have changed a thing where that was concerned. My surgeons were fantastic. I can not say enough about them. If every there comes a time again where I need some God-Awful abdominal surgery, those are the guys I want doing it!
After surgery, and while was still in the hospital I met some of the Oncologists from CTRC. We talked about treatment in very general terms. I explained to them how I felt about treatment and what I wanted. I told them that I am young (I’m 44 years old) and I’m otherwise healthy. I want them to be as aggressive as they possibly can be to get rid of anything that was missed in surgery. More than anything else I dont’ want to be back here in 2 years because something new has popped up. Lets go after it now and get it the first time! The Doctors smiled at me, with that “Oh boy!! This is going to be a fun one” look they get when they’re given free rein. More than anything else, they agreed with everything I said and convinced me that CTRC was where I needed to get my treatment.
Now, let’s fast forward a month or so. I actually go to CTRC to meet my Oncologist. I’m asked to participate in a clinical study. They’re trying to develop a vaccine for Pancreatic Cancer. I’m thinking, “This is exactly why I decided to stay at CTRC!!!” I did, however find a Radiation Oncologist in Corpus Christi. Once those treatments start, they’re every day. There is no way I’m going to commute or worse yet, live in San Antonio (away from my wife and kids!) for almost 2 months.
As many of you already know, I was disqualified for the study. It was a little funny, it seemed to come as a great revelation to them that I don’t have Pancreatic Cancer. I knew that. My cancer is similar, but is actually Ampullary, not Pancreatic. Once I was disqualified I started doing even more research. I found that my course of treatment (without the vaccine) was exactly the same at CTRC as it would be anywhere else. Even Bob’s Tire and Lube and Cancer Shop would treat it exactly the same way. So with that in mind, why am I commuting 3 hours, each way once a week?
Friday I met my new Oncologist. Dr. Aftab Mahmood. He is at Cancer Specialists of South Texas (That’s the one on Rodd Field Road, for those of you in the area). I really like this guy. He’s young, I can understand everything he says. Best off, he actually has a personality. I genuinely feel that I’m in good hands.
Dr. Mahmood says that I can start my Chemo immediately. That means that Tuesday, instead of getting up and packing up the car for any sort of contingency or emergency (That’s really Lisa’s doing. I’m more “seat of the pants”, but that’s not really a surprise, is it?) then driving all day. Instead of that, we’ll drive 20 – 25 minutes to the Cancer Center and be home within 2 hours!!!!!