May 15, 2002 - 12:21 am
In late September 2001 I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. After four months of chemo (CHOP and Rixtun) and 25 treatments of radiation I am in recovery. The reason I am writing is to thank those who helped me. First I'd like to thank the second allergist that I saw and that actually took the time to listen to me and to realize it wasn't allergies like the other allergist said. It was he who ordered the chest x-ray and got the results read to him in 5 minutes. It was him who called my primary Dr. while I was sitting in his office. It was him that called several times after I left his office to see how I was doing and what the diagnosis was. Once I was in the hands of my primary Dr., Dr. Draper who from the moment she found out took me into her care and led me in the direction I needed to go. She met with my husband and myself on one and explained what it could be and what we'd need to do. She got a CT Scan ordered for the next day. That afternoon I was meeting with a surgeon who did my biopsies. And by the end of the day the best oncologist, Dr. Lucas, in the business, was on the phone to me to schedule a time in the week.Dr. Draper didn't stop there she called me every day including Saturday's and Sunday's for THREE weeks while they were trying to figure out what type of cancer I had. She kept telling me not to worry that I'd be around to see my daughter grow up. Dr. Draper spearheaded this fantastic medical team that brought me into recovery. My world had just turned upside down but I wasn't afraid because I knew I was in good hands. I never once thought I was going to die.
I also want to thank my oncologist Dr. Lucas and her staff. I knew I liked her from the beginning. Even though she told me that we could leave on our Disneyland trip in four days. I will never forget when she looked me straight in the eye and told me that she was going to give me "chemo that would kick my butt and get rid of that cancer" Also, the oncology nurses whom admisterd my chemo. I truly love you! You made my chemo days so less scary for me. When I walked into your room, I know I'd be taken care of. Thank you Noreen for coming into the exam room on my first day and introducing yourself and the other nurses and showing me around. Thank you Noreen for remembering to ask about my daughter by name and ask how the Disneyland plans were coming after I hadn't seen you in three months and for knowing how much I hate Predisone. I know that you all see hundreds of patients but you made me feel special. Thank you to Theresa for sorting all of those pills I had to take week after week since I couldn't figure it out. Thank you Theresa for not having your baby until after I graduated
Dr. Poen. I also want to thank you and your staff. My first visit to your office I was greeted by Fred. He brought me in showed me a movie about radiation and then sat with me until all of my questions were answered. Then I got to met with you for the first time For the first 20 minutes we talked about me the person--not me the person with cancer. After we meeting was over you got a copy of my latest CT showed abnormal tissue hiding behind my heart and that I would have to do 25 treatments. It had been discussed that I would only have to do three weeks of radiation so this news was disturbing to me. I had thought the radiation was a matter of procedure not treatment since all of the chest x-rays came back clear. How dare my heart hide scare tissue I called Dr. Poen's office in tears and they got him on the phone right away. He reassured me that what they were seeing was probably scar tissue but to be safe he wanted to do the extra two weeks ofradiation. But to make sure he would work with Dr. Lucas to get the insurance company to pay for a PET Scan once my treatment were over. All of this happened on a Friday. Dr. Poen made sure that I was okay before he left for the weekend so I wouldn't have to suffer all weekend and worry. He even contacted my oncologist so she'd call me to help make me feel better. His radiation staff was just as wonderful. I was greeted each day with a genuine hug and smile. They knew about my life outside of the cancer world I was living in. I felt the entire time I was in treatment I had the red carpet rolled out for me. I had the best cheer leaders in the business. I had a medical team that really cared. As a result I was never negative. I was always so positive about my prognosis. Sure I had some bad days but they were never as bad as they could have been. Not once did I spend more than two hours waiting for a phone call back from any of the Dr.'s, nurses or staff.
Thank you to my husband who did and is still doing for us. I know this must have been hard on you but you never let is show. Your focus was taking care of Mel and me. You told me that I only had one time to get this right and to do whatever I needed to do to get it right. You'd do your part and I needed to do mine. There are to many things for me to list here but I try to tell you every day how much meant to me and how much I love you.
Thanks to the rest of our family and friends for all that they have done and been for us. Thank you to God who hardly ever hears from me but was able to grant me my wish.
This posting isn't just for the people that came forward to help me/us. It is for all of you caregivers out there. I wanted you to hear from someone that went through this how much you mean to us. Not only emotionally but what a huge impact you have on putting us into recovery. You do your jobs so well and it isn't easy. You are all little angles to me an I will be grateful to each of you every day for the rest of my life.
I love you!!!