The Maricopa County Oncology Clinic would be my next stop in my cancer treatment. The clinic I was currently being treated at, Arizona Oncology, was a private clinic, and was only able to give me 2 sessions of chemo (sessions 2 and 3), because there was no government funding. The county clinic would continue my treatment.
I met me new oncologist about a week after my 3rd treatment. We discusses what would occur with treatment, and what I could expect. Everything was pretty much the same as with my last oncologist. One major difference was that, at the county clinic, they don’t like to give intrathecal chemo in the spine. That’s because, over time, this could cause the spine to become brittle, and cause serious problems later on.
The strategy for intrathecal chemo at the Maricopa County Oncology Clinic is to install an Ommaya port. This is done by a neuro surgeon, and is installed in one of the fluid chambers of the brain. It’s the same concept as the Port a Cath, only used for intrathecal chemo.
I was scheduled to receive 5 more cycles of the R-CHOP therapy, and after the cycles where completed, I would receive radiation treatment on the testicle area, to make sure all cancer was either removed or killed from that area. Radiation would be done at another clinic, which will get into much later.
My first treatment at the Maricopa County Oncology Clinic wouldn’t be scheduled for atleast a month or so, as there where not enough spots available for more chemo patients. So, I just continued doing what I was supposed to do, by taking care of myself and eating right.
The good news is that, after my third chemo, the lump in my armpit disappeared. So, we know the drugs where doing there job. Unfortunately, during this time, I began to develop serious abdominal pains. The pains where excruciating, and felt as if someone was taking a pair of pliers and twisting my intestines. Pain would stop if and when I released gas, and would start again after I ate. I talked about this with the nurse navigator at the previous clinic, which will be the subject of my next post.
Meeting my new oncologist, I learned how the county clinic handles treatment. I also learned what to expect, and learned that different doctors and clinics do things slightly different. All in all, my experience with the “Maricopa County Oncology Clinic” was great.