Thursday, 24 July 2014

Tuesday 22nd: July 14... CHEMO # 1 ...adding to Team Brendan

The CN, the Oncologist & the Nursing Practitioner
Its been a huge couple of days, Tuesday was all about meeting more of Team Brendan, and preparing for what would happen the following day... his first chemo treatment. We started off by meeting Tanya, a really friendly and extremely busy young woman. Probably in her mid to late 20's or maybe early 30's, she is tall with a brown shoulder length bob. She seems a little flustered a lot of the time and she is a really fast walker. She is the clinical nurse who is filling in for Kristyn, who we will meet next session. Tanya's job as the acting CN consultant for RPA youth cancer support services, it seems is to co-ordinate Bren's appointments while we are down here, and to liaise between us and the specialists. She is constantly popping away to attend to other matters but is also making sure we are being well looked after.

Brendan's first appointment today is to have blood taken...and then we wait...about 45 minutes to an hour later Tanya comes to find us and speed walks us over to lifehouse for the CT scan, we find out later that Bren shouldn't be speed walking anywhere, he actually shouldn't be walking at all without crutches, he is not supposed to be driving either....and he is not happy about that!! More waiting follows and then we are taken upstairs to meet Viv, who is Brens oncologist...this consultation takes about an hour. Viv looks like he is probably around Bren's age, he is reasonably tall and fit looking. He has great skin and no hair. While chatting we discover that Viv's wife is a mad cross fitter...I love common ground! He is in no rush to get us in and out. He is calm, speaks slowly and talks to us in easy to understand terms...Tanya is very impressed by Viv, both as a doctor and a person, and I get the impression that she is really very excited at the opportunity to be both working with and learning from him. She tells me that he specialises in pediatric cases and that we're exceptionally fortunate to have him as a part of Brens team...I feel we are blessed. On meeting Viv I am equally impressed, I like him pretty much instantly, not that it would matter if I didn't, as long as he knows his stuff and makes my husband well again...but yep, I like him and it feels like a great fit!

This consultation is the first time we hear what type if cancer it is that Brendan has, we knew it was a sarcoma but now it has a name... [it's a a something or other sarcoma] it is rare and we are told what the worst case scenario is, which we all know with cancer is the ability for it to end life. Hearing that articulated in relation to Brendan is quite emotional for both of us. But before that, we are told that this form of cancer is highly treatable.... So this is what i heard, "what you have Brendan  is very rare, it is more common in children and teens....and it is highly treatable" I have never felt so relieved in all of my life. It Is Highly Treatable.

After the oncologist consult, we come back out to the waiting room, where Chick [Brens sister] has been sitting waiting patiently for an hour. Bren walks over to reception with his paperwork, I go over to Chick and all I can mange to say is "it's highly treatable" we both cry with relief....yep still a long road ahead, but I am focusing on highly treatable...

The next appointment is education with Keith, after another fairly lengthy wait it commences. Keith is the nursing practitioner for chemo day therapy at Lifehouse. Keith is fabulous. He is probably in his late 50's, he is kind, gentle and generous with his time. He has about 6 phones on him and I get the feeling everyone wants a piece of Keith. He is there for everyone, staff, patients and carers... is in high demand and he thrives on it. You can see that he loves his work! He explains the whole process and protocol of Brendan's upcoming treatment tomorrow, in detail, and then goes through all the possible side effects...this is going to be one hell of a ride ...and it's all go tomorrow!

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