Wednesday, July 26, 2017

More confirmation

The newest CTCA patient
 Today I headed back over to the cancer treatment center and received more confirmation that this is exactly the place God wants me to be right now. My first appointment was with the Naturopath. He was a very nice man and took a lot of time talking to me about helpful supplements to fight cancer. He was impressed that I'd done a lot of research already and that I'd been taking Ashwaghanda and Turmeric/Curcurmin for some time. He suggested I try boosting my Melatonin to help with more restful sleep and that I increase my Vitamin D3 dosage. He was very knowledgeable and I appreciated his input.

Next up was an appointment with the pastoral care department. It was so nice to walk into their beautiful chapel to meet with the head of the pastoral care department. We talked about the importance of spending time in prayer and relying on the truth of God's Word. It was nice to know this center cares not only about the patients and their bodies but also about their spiritual needs. I was impressed when they handed out a sheet of Scriptures on healing and a booklet on God's faithfulness.
A devotional in the waiting room

While in the pastoral care department, I met a nice couple from Pensacola. They had come up to the Newnan facility for treatment. I'm thankful I live close enough not to have to travel a long distance for care. Many are not as fortunate as I am.

After the pastoral care meeting, I was directed to the nutrition department to meet with the registered dietitian. They want to make sure you're not only eating well but making wise choices to benefit your health.

Next up was a meeting with my patient advocate. Each patient is assigned an advocate to be available during the entire time of their treatment. My advocate's name is Angie and she was extremely nice. She gave me a tour of the entire facility and explained what each department does. As I was touring the facility, I realized that this building and everything inside it represented a huge, self contained cancer bubble. Each doctor, each patient, each clinic, lab, or testing facility was all part of a community affected in some way by the far reaching tentacles of breast cancer.

During the meeting for patients with their advocate, I met a woman from Eastman, Georgia. Her name is Shirley. She's had a lumpectomy performed 3 times and her cancer keeps coming back. She was here for radiation treatments. I was able to share my experience with her and we exchanged numbers. She's staying onsite until her treatments are complete. I hope we'll have time to develop a good friendship before she returns home. I felt sorry for her because she's all alone in town. I'm hoping we can meet up for lunch on my next visit to the facility.

Shirley and I sat beside each other as the head of the Cancer Fighters group shared her testimony. My heart was touched as this lady shared how she'd endured cancer 3 times already and was currently stage 4. Though she's doing fairly well, she's on continued chemotherapy. She recently had the cancer return to her shoulder and had to have a huge section of her shoulder and upper arm bone removed. Each time I hear someone else's story, I realize how very blessed I've been thus far.

The ceiling skylight
Ultrasound area
I headed to the imaging center next for my ultrasound. I was thankful the tech offered me a warm blanket as she asked me to disrobe for the test. Lying on the gurney, I smiled as I looked up at the ceiling. Usually, while waiting for these types of tests, I get to stare at blank, acoustic ceiling tiles. Today was different. There was a lovely scene with blue sky, clouds, and flowers. I commented on it to the tech and she said many patients had complained about having nothing to look at so the center put in these attractive skylights. At least they listen to their patients and try to do what they can to make each test as pleasant as possible.
The exam room

I tried to look at the screen as the ultrasound tech was performing my scan but I couldn't see anything. She had the screen turned toward herself and I couldn't crane my neck far enough to get a glimpse. That's probably a good thing though. Patients don't have the skill or knowledge to know how to read the scans and we'd probably speculate on the findings before being told the results.

6 vials of blood!
After my scan, the tech left the room to get the doctor. I didn't know if that was good or bad, so I waited patiently. When the door opened and he came in, the first words out of his mouth were, "It's not bad news!" I was so glad to hear that. He said he always liked to give the patients an immediate statement if it wasn't bad news so it would put their minds at ease. I was grateful. Apparently the spot that's been causing pain is more necrotic tissue. I don't know if they're going to want to remove it like before or not. I guess I'll have to wait until I see the oncologist on Saturday.

At 12:00 I was finally done for the day. Thankfully I headed to my car. As I was walking down the hallway, an alarm sounded and all facility doors locked down. Lights were flashing and everyone in the hallways looked around with great trepidation. Nurses and doctors assured everyone it was just a false alarm and that perhaps some work being done on site had caused the alarm to be triggered. It was an eerie feeling to be trapped inside and with all the terrorist type activities around the country, I couldn't help but wonder if a shooter was on campus. It was a huge sigh of relief to know it was a glitch and after talking with an employee, I guess she could see how nervous I was so she offered to take me out the employee exit. I thanked her profusely and was so glad to get to my car and head home.

Locked down! Notice the closed accordion doors at the end of the hall.
When I got home, the first thing I did was take off my shoes and grab a tall glass of cold water. I was so thirsty! I'd forgotten to take my bottled water with me the hot sun on the ride home had made me realize how thirsty I'd been. What a day! One appointment after the other, but I was thankful to be able to attend each one in the same building.  This will certainly be more convenient than driving to three different doctors in three different cities.

Saturday I'll meet with the oncologist to hear her plan of treatment for me. I'm looking forward to it. Any doctor who's willing to meet with a patient on a Saturday is good in my book.

I can't believe I was so nervous about making the change to a new facility. Isn't that funny how change affects us as we get older? I find security in having things remain the same but God often uses change to help us grow. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to make the best choice for me and I'm glad I have access to good quality healthcare. There are so many who don't have that option. I'm also thankful for my husband's job and his good insurance. We are truly blessed.

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