Cameron and Kacey

Cameron and Kacey
My Beautiful Angels

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A "Better" Choice...

Where do I even begin after my “whirl-wind” day yesterday? We went to the Dana Farber for a second opinion. My thought for doing this was to get peace of mind that I was doing the right thing about my treatment. I figured they were going to say basically the same thing my doctors at Mass. General said and I would feel like I was making the right choice. Boy was I wrong!

The Farber is an incredible place. I was amazed the moment we walked in the door. We met with a team of doctors, including radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, and medical oncologists. They did a full “background” check and got my history. Then the team did a physical exam, including a scope of my vocal cords and nasopharynx (THAT was fun! Yuck!). After that they left to discuss my case.

Everything changed the next time the door opened! The surgical oncologist and radiation oncologists came back in and my worst fear came true! They had decided as a group that the carotid surgery was NOT the way to go and had too many risks. This is what I had felt since day one and was not confident about the surgery at all!

So they were now suggesting that I begin nine weeks of very aggressive chemotherapy, three cycles, of three very strong chemo drugs (Cisplatin, Taxotere, and Fluorouracil, also called 5-FU). They have had much success with treating squamous cell carcinoma with this regiment and feel that it will respond well to the drugs. I have also never had chemo before so they think I will tolerate it well, being young and healthy, and that it will either eliminate the tumor or shrink it enough to then do a less risky surgery and treat it further with radiation and a lesser dose of chemo.

So now, as I looked at my Mom and Dad who were sitting in the room with me, I was so confused and flooded with information, I did not know what to do! But for some reason, a strange calm came over me and I knew the choice I had to make. Since the day the doctors at Mass. General suggested the surgery, it had not sat well with me. I never ONCE had a positive feeling about this surgery option and actually had more negative feelings than I care to share. There was NO way I could go in for MAJOR surgery, as risky as it would be, feeling the way I did.

I finally had a plan that I was willing to try and actually felt GOOD about! Sure, I am not thrilled to deal with side effects from infusion chemotherapy for nine weeks. Nor am I thrilled to lose all of my hair, but it will give me an excuse to buy some new baseball hats!!

So after talking this plan over with the doctors at DF quite extensively, I decided that in my heart I KNEW that this was the “better” choice for me. So I go back to DF tomorrow, Thursday, for a full-body PET scan to make sure this damn disease has not spread to anywhere else. Then I go on Monday to have my Porta-cath inserted in my chest for the chemo infusions. And at 7:45am on Tuesday morning, I begin my treatments.

I also know that I cannot do this alone with two young kids at home. They say I'll be too fatigued to take care of myself, never mind Cam and Kacey. So Mom has "graciously" offered to move in when necessary. Oh what fun that will be!! Just kidding Mom!! I love you and Dad and couldn't do this without either of you!! And I am sure Jen will be there when my parents are not. Not easy for her either with three kids at home under 3 1/2! Love you for that, Bub! The kids will also be staying with Chris and his parents a bit more than usual, and I thank them greatly for that as well. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful support system of family and friends that will give up things in their own lives to make sure I get better and my kids are taken care of.

I feel like I have been given another chance. I feel relieved that I am not thinking about the surgery now. I finally feel like I have a plan, that I have some control over. I finally feel like I have some peace and that I can now move forward and get rid of this disease once and for all! Is it the right choice? Who knows! But it feels like the “better” choice. And a choice I can live with….and hopefully for a long, long time!


  1. Kris, That sounds encouraging... Glad to here you dont have to go for the surgery. Are thoughts are with you and if Lisa and I can do anything for you or the kids, please let us know. Kick its Ass!!! We love you,

    Pete McL.

  2. Kris- Tis is so much bettr. You know we will support you in anything you decide but this feels so much better to me also. I'm so glad there was a second opinion. We are here whenever we are needed so do whatever you have to to get better. Love you, ma & pa Fritts

  3. Kris, I am relieved to hear you got a second opinion. I read up on that type of surgery and boy was that scary....I'm so glad there is another option for you. When my sister was recovering from her mastectomy I would go over and do some of her housework so she could rest. I would be happy to do the same for you....or bring supper over or something. Please let us know if you need anything.

  4. I know that I feel better about all of this....just because YOU feel so much better about it. Like you said, it's not going to be easy...but if seems like the better choice for you right now. Everything just fell into place yesterday for you and DF is getting things DONE! Yes I have 3 kids to care for, but I am also going to be there for you ANYTIME you need me! Dan and I will make it work....and we will help you whenever we can and you or the kids need us. Getting you better is the MOST important thing right now....

    Love you so much Rissy!

  5. We're glad to hear that you have another option than the surgery. I know you must feel better just having made a definite decision that feels right for you....You have some control once again and a plan. That awful waiting game is now over and even though the road ahead sounds like a bumpy one, you will have tons of support to help along the way. We will hold you in our thoughts and prayers every step of the way....Love Mi y Pi

  6. So glad you have a new plan you feel more comfortable with Kris. It sounds better for you and that is most important. DF is an amazing place. I cannot say enough good things about the care they provide. You are in good hands. We are thinking of you always!

  7. Hi Kris- It seems like a much better plan. I was worried about the surgery. It sounds like you have a great team of doctors and an even better support system. If the kids (or you) want to spend some time at the beach this summer, come my way! You're in my thoughts and prayers. All the best! Cathy

  8. Kris - we will be thinking of you through this. Glad to hear that you're less unhappy with the direction this has taken in that you're not having the surgery.

    For some lighter relief, here are some pictures of the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" 5K walk in Grand Rapids, MI this past weekend.

    I'm the one in pink :-)

    And we have the 24 Hour Relay for life coming up in 2 weekends.

    Very Best Wishes


  9. Dear Kris, We are so happy to hear you have another option and you feel good about it. That is half the battle. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Good luck!

  10. Kris,
    I am so glad that you went to DF for a second opinion. A very good friend of mine has been battling brain cancer there for the last year, and they are the BEST hospital in the world for treating all cancers. Plus, they seem to know how to treat the whole person, not just the cancer. I know you will be tired (and maybe a little cranky) with the new treatments---hey, Bald IS Beautiful! When we get home (beginning of June), I would love to take your kids on an outing--our grandkids love the Children's Museum in Providence--and I'd sure like to spoil Kacey and Cameron--and give you some quiet time. Thinking of you and your family with positive thoughts. Thanks for keeping us informed!
    Love and Kisses always

  11. Kris,

    Thank goodness fo DF. Having the new option and new confidence in treatment must be so encouraging. Can't wait to see you and the kids in a few weeks.

    We love you very much,

    Tim & Erin

  12. Dear Kris,
    I am glad the waiting game is over for you and so glad to hear you got a second opinion
    at DF. That is truly the best amoung the best places to be. It sounds like you will
    not have to worry about the wonderful care your two beautiful children will receive from
    a wonderful and loving family. The support you have and will have is so important and before you know it, you will be back to being mom again and this will be behind you. Your courage and determination is amazing. My thoughts and prayers are and will be with your through all of this challenging time. xoxo, Mrs. "S"