I’m remembering our first glimpse into cancer world when Leroy and I first heard the words, “You have cancer.”
Actually, his doctor said, “We have a problem.” Then he showed us a color-glossy picture of a large colon cancer tumor taken only minutes before when Leroy had gone in for a routine colonoscopy. He followed up with the words “You have cancer.” Frankly by then, my head felt like it was about to explode and I could hardly catch my breath.
In the beginning it really never occurred to me that we needed a team of doctors. We really never needed any doctor. I had my GYN doc, Leroy never got sick, so the only doctors he went to where the ones who inoculated him before he went off to a war somewhere in a desert or a jungle. Vaccines were his protection, not from bullets, but from disease.
So when we arrived at Hopkins, the team began to assemble: slowly at first, but if you are familiar with the Kimmel Cancer Center, you know they attack cancer care very aggressively. Doctors come with that aggressive treatment. By the time his treatment was over, and we’re talking years, his medical record looked like a set of encyclopedia’s.
But, you know, it was necessary and worthwhile because I will always believe his life, both quantity and quality was enhanced because of that team. They stayed close to his case. They shared information and if they didn’t know the answer to something, they took it to a tumor board or a researcher and asked questions and got answers. They were mightily supported by the best nurses I’ve ever seen.
We had a team. They were worthy of any pennant, any world championship title, any trophy.
My suggestion, if you’re in this fight: BUILD A TEAM, it’s essential.