OK, so today was the big day I have been waiting for. We got to Meir Hospital ridiculously early, hung around eating croissants ( not croissants that any French person would recognize as such, Luke) and upside down coffee ( that frothy coffee, that's what they call it in Hebrew). I was sure the Professor wasn't coming for some reason, but right on time he came in and called us into his room.
I have worked with a lot of doctors, and respect many of them, but Prof. Shpitz is honestly the best doctor I have ever had the pleasure of talking to. He is also a very nice person, and made what could have been a very difficult visit easy. We showed him all the tests I have done so far, the CT, the colonoscopy, the rectal ultrasound, the blood tests and so on, and he gave me an examination. The conclusion was as we had expected; I will have radiation therapy and chemotherapy for six weeks, then a one month rest to let the tumour shrink as much as possible, then an operation. This will be a lower anterior resection by laparotomy. Then he set up a meeting with an oncologist for us and wished us well in the meantime, leaving us his personal phone number in case of problems of any kind.
The oncologist was also ok, but couldn't compete with Prof. Shpitz in niceness. To be fair, he was much busier, and only managed to see us because Prof. Shpitz asked him to. He explained that I will need 5000 rads of radiation split up into 33 doses, and that this will be done in Beilinson Hospital, which is in Petach Tikva. It's a long way to go every day, but at least I get traveling expenses back. Unfortunately we now have to wait AGAIN, because my file has been faxed to Beilinson but it will take them 10 days or so to get me into their schedule. This is annoying, but unavoidable ( unless you are a member of parliament, or royal or something, I expect). The oncologist says it doesn't matter, what will be important is how the tumour reacts to the treatment. The best scenario is that it could disappear altogether- although I will still need the operation. The worst one is probably that it gets it's own talk show, or brings out a cd; ,'Bummy Tumour and the Lymph Nodes play Abba's Greatest Hits'. ( For all Israeli readers, this is an example of English humour, it doesn't mean the cancer has got to my brain.)
The chemotherapy part of the treatment will be pills, so at least I don't have to be hooked up to an iv every day. The oncologist says that side effects from this regimen are fairly reasonable, mostly just diarrhea and tiredness. It's only six weeks anyway, so it should be ok. I think I lose my hair though, which is frustrating having just spent four years growing it long! Not that it is really wonderful hair anyway though, so 'capara'. ( a totally untranslatable Hebrew term meaning that this is the chicken which is sacrificed to remove sins and save the sinners head). ( honestly.)
So, next big date is the start of radiation treatment, although I do have other things to do meanwhile. The most annoying of these is that I need another CT because my GP didn't send me for a chest CT at the same time as the pelvic one. And I TOLD her I would need one, stupid woman. So I have to go through all that again, the worst thing being the absolute waste of time spent getting there and hanging around drinking the awful radioactive water.
On the bright side the big typhoon which came really close to Puerto Princesa, where Chasamba is moored, seems to have gone just north enough to be ok. There is no word from there, but probably the electricity is down and so there is no internet. Fingers crossed all round, I suppose!