Scan update

Good news.  I don’t have any new nodules and the ones I have are smaller.  The plan is to have radiation for the nodule in my right lung.  I’ll meet with the radiation oncologist in the coming weeks and he will explain the radiation process.  From what I was told by my oncologist it may be between 2-4 treatments of radiation. I will continue to receive chemo while getting radiation.  I will meet with the thoracic surgeon next week to discuss having surgery to remove the nodule in my left lung and establishing a time frame for the surgery.  I’ve discussed this particular nodule with her and she would be able to remove it and the surgery would be less invasive than my previous surgeries.  I will need to be off chemo for possibly four weeks before having the surgery.  After surgery, I will complete the rest of my chemo regimen.  Overall, I have four more months of chemo with radiation and a surgery thrown into the mix. 

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Being A Cancer Patient and Clinician

I always knew I wanted to help people but wasn’t sure who I wanted to help.  In my experience as a psychotherapist, I’ve worked with people of all ages and with various mental illnesses.  With each new job, I would dive-in and adopt the clinic’s particular focus but I was always searching for my area of specialty.  I didn’t think my calling would involve my own illness.  I now realize part of having cancer is so I can help others with their struggles with cancer.

I recently returned from the national conference for American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS).  APOS is a group of mental health professionals that focus on providing mental health care to cancer patients.  During the conference, I struggled with the transition from patient to clinician.  I went to the conference as a clinician but with each workshop, I found myself identifying more with the patients participating in the research.  However, as both a patient and clinician, I left the conference feeling inspired and hopeful for the future of oncology treatment.  I firmly believe that during my children’s lifetime the days of burning (radiation), slicing (surgery), and poisoning (chemotherapy) will not be the only treatment options for cancer patients.  I learned that cancer treatment is moving towards personalized care based on a tumor’s genetic makeup.  The conference was not solely focused on mental health aspects but overall care.  If treatment outcomes for cancer patients improve, the overall mental health of patients and their families would also improve.

Upon returning from my trip, I met with my boss and discussed the direction I wanted to go within the practice.  He asked me if I would be interested in working with clients with chronic illness.  He informed me about an upcoming meeting with MedStar, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland overseeing 10 hospitals.  I hope that this new contact will bring new opportunities and growth.  By now, I shouldn’t be amazed about how things happen for a reason, but each time they do and I connect the dots, I’m deeply humbled.

This Wednesday, Feb. 26, I have a CT scan.  The results will dictate my future treatment.  My treatment options may be four more months of poison (chemo), or the burning (radiation) of a spot in my right lung and the slicing (surgery) of my left lung, or all of the above.  Please keep me in your prayers.

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