Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Second Opinion

This past Thursday, Sue and I met with Dr Holzbeierlein, a urological oncologist with the University of Kansas Hospital. I wanted to be sure that another specialist in this field agreed with the course of action prescribed by my initial urologist.

It was obvious that Dr Holzbeierlein was a leader in this field of medicine, as he sent in a resident doctor for the first round of questioning and the dirty work. Yes, years of experience does have it's rewards; the resident would ask all the redundant questions and have the honor of doing the digital prostate check. For those of you my age, you know what I mean, a personal space violation only a doctor could get away with! And no, it's not digital because there's an electronic device, it's digital, like one of the digits on your hand that does the work. OK, I am being a bit factitious about the doctor's roles, but there probably is a little truth to that.

Moving on, the doctors recommendation for treatment was exactly the same, however, he did want to go back in and do another scraping of tissue inside the bladder and do another biopsy. His reasoning was to be sure we removed any potentially dangerous cells before beginning treatment. I was very uneasy about having another biopsy done; this would mean another surgery and another month to recover.

So, the dilemma; should I follow the experts advice or continue straight to the treatment. Remember, regardless of whether I choose the second scraping, the long term treatment recommendation of both doctors is the same.

Here's my thought process:

* A second scraping of the bladder may slightly increase the odds that all of the cancer cells were removed. However, even if some dangerous cells were still intact, the prescribed immunotherapy treatment would likely fight those remaining abnormal cells.

* A call back to my original urologist, Dr Joseph Myers from the Olathe Medical Center, confirmed his personal observation that all suspicious cells were removed. He assured me that there would be nothing left to scrape.

* Somewhere in the back of my mind lies this feeling that since Dr Holzbeierlein did not do the original surgery, he needs to be sure in his own mind that everything inside was scraped properly, hence the recommendation to do it again. Kind of a CYA?

* Fighting cancer requires a strong mind and a strong body. I personally feel ready to begin treatment and do not want the mental setback of another surgery. I also feel comfortable with Dr Myers, his answers to my questions and his staff.

After discussing the situation with Sue, we have decided to continue down the initial path given by Dr Myers. Treatment will begin on June 16th as planned.

On a happier note, today I ran for the first time in almost two months. I was a little apprehensive at first, jogging quite slowly (uh oh, runners hate the word jogging!), but eventually became more confident and ended up laying down 3 miles of tracks. My legs felt great but the breathing was still quite labored. Overall though, I was extremely pleased with the run. I'll slowly work in more days and more miles and hopefully will feel strong again soon.

Thanks again to everybody that has wished me well, I haven't been able to respond personally to everyone, but I do appreciate the kind words.


dkompo said...

Here's my thought on the second opinion. I'm sure it matters to everyone. If your treatment is delayed another month, so is my lining up at the starting line with you at your next run. I would have another month of training. Yeah thats what I thought, my opinion doesn't matter.

debbie osborne said...

i am in full agreement of your sound decsion! i send out the best to you and the fam-keep that strong determination and strength-