The Mission – And I’ve chosen to accept it

24 Jun

Many people may not know this but I love a good action/suspense movie.  From a cunning Bond flick to a thrilling Mission Impossible movie I’ve always been drawn towards a pursuit of some kind.   Well the way these crime-fighting action heroes approach the plot in front of them is how I’ve decided to approach this battle in front of me.  I’ve been given my mission and have chosen to accept it – I’m going to fight it with the fiercest willpower I have, combined with a calculated, meticulous research, and most importantly the love and support from others.

So what is the game plan? you’re wondering.  After countless hours of research and grilling as many experts as possible in a short amount of time, the order of operations will be as follows:

  1. Assemble an A-Team (or as Nick calls it…the E-team) of doctors and specialists who are ready, willing and prepared to fight this cancer with as much vigor as possible
  2. Harvest and freeze my eggs – a very necessary insurance policy (more on this in a moment)
  3. Five to six weeks of chemo and radiation treatments
  4. Four to five weeks of rest
  5. Surgical removal of what is left of the tumor following chemo/radiation treatment
  6. A few additional sessions of chemo/radiation

Oh, and let’s not forget the wedding planning that will continue to occur during Steps 1-4 listed above.  Yes, that’s right…I received news that I had cancer 82 days before my wedding.  Although I was never completely opposed to pushing the Big Day back, I liked the notion of having something to look forward to, something to strive towards.  Thus, the plan as of now is to continue moving full speed ahead J

So that’s a great plan, Emily, where do you begin? This was a question I probably would have asked myself under normal circumstances, however in this case found myself thrown into this situation so fast I didn’t even have time to think – just act.    Nick and I are firm believers that people attract like, similar people.  It is for this reason that we are so grateful to have the friends, family and support that we have…especially when we are living so far away from other loved ones.  When I first learned of the news, we knew we needed to start interviewing surgeons that would ultimately perform the procedure of removing the tumor and affected tissue around it.  Carrie & Mike Terrones were instrumental in getting us face time with some of Las Vegas’ highest regarded surgeons.  Mike works closely with doctors and surgeons on a daily basis and has witnessed many of them operate first hand.  He was able to steer me towards the most reputable professionals in town, and also told us which ones to avoid!  But it goes even further than that.  The typical timeframe it takes for new patients to be seen by one of these surgeons is 5-7 days minimum.  Carrie and Mike made certain this wasn’t the case for me. Mike would personally call the surgeons on their cell phones ahead of time, letting them know to give their scheduling nurses a heads up that I would be calling and needed to be seen ASAP.  I was walking into doctors’ offices armed with the name of the right person to speak with, who had now been instructed to fit me in on the doctor’s calendar despite a double-booked schedule.  Some people relish their illustrious Vegas connections and know pit bosses that will comp them an extra buffet or doormen that will let them cut the line.  Well in this instance, I felt like a VIP and will take this red carpet service over a free buffet any day!

For the past week and a half, we’ve been in the midst of an intense process of interviewing the doctors that would form the E-team.  This includes colo-rectal surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, and a holistic integrative general practice physician.  In most cases we interviewed 3-4 specialists for each of these roles.  One of the physicians made an interesting comment – The best time to fight cancer is the first time around.  It is for this reason that we extensively grilled as many doctors as we did.  While my diagnosis of rectal cancer wasn’t rare by any means, the age at which I was diagnosed with it was.  The typical rectal cancer patient will be between the ages of 60-80.  My 28 years seemed a far cry from this.  When speaking with some doctors, they indicated I was their youngest patient to date.  Often times at this point I could see a hint of fear in their eyes.  Will fear is not an option for any member of the E-Team.  They would not be joining the team.  Other physicians we spoke with would cite I was their second or third youngest patient with colo-rectal cancer and didn’t seem to think twice about it.  They wouldn’t posses an ounce of fear in their eyes, just fond memories of how previous patients had conquered this villain with vitality and strength…and won.  These are the characteristics I was looking for in the members of the E-Team!

After almost two weeks of countless doctors appointments, waiting rooms, and new-patient forms, we feel confident that the E-Team is close to being finalized.  Cast members will be revealed soon…

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One Response to “The Mission – And I’ve chosen to accept it”

  1. Bonnie Smith July 5, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    Emily,
    I was saddened when i heard the news. My thoughts and prayers are with you in your fight to overcome this. Please know i’m here if you need anything.

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