Day 77, Year 7: Chemo, Here We Come
Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Weather: Beautiful Day, Too Warm for a Coat
Location: Brewer Fiddler’s Cove Marina, N Falmouth, MA

When we first emerged from Windbird this morning, our first sight through
the foggy morning air was a startled Great Blue Heron who left his perch on
one of the dock posts to glide across the cove. What a beautiful sight and
a reminder of just why we choose to live to on a boat. Breathtaking moments
like these happen often. Then as we walked up the dock, we realized that it
was a very high tide and the perfect time for me to be able to pull our
dinghy up out of the water and onto land. We should have done this when we
first arrived here in November, but for one reason and then another, the
dinghy stayed in the water. Now she is safe on shore until spring. We were
actually on our way to the clubhouse to take showers, but then we realized
that it was very warm out and that we should seize the moment and hook up
our hose to fill Windbird?s water tanks. By the time this was done, we
decided to stop and have breakfast, then take showers, and then head to
Boston for Mark?s 1 pm appointment at Mass General.

After having lunch at Mass General?s caf?, we met Dr. Eunice Kwak, Mark?s
oncologist. In addition to being a vibrant and very engaging physician, she
is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School with an MD from Duke,
a PhD from Stanford, a Residency at Brigham and Women?s, and a Fellowship at
Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Kwak spent a great deal of time with us
making sure we understood what would be involved in Mark?s treatment.
Because the cancer was found in four of the sixteen lymph nodes removed,
Mark?s cancer is Stage III. The standard treatment for colorectal cancer at
that stage is FOLFOX– twelve chemotherapy treatments, one every two weeks
for six months. This will begin sometime in the next month. Dr. Kwak
talked to us about our preference of having the treatments in Boston versus
having them here in Falmouth. We were unsure, so she is making an
appointment with an oncologist here that she has worked with in prior cases.
Dr. Kwan doesn?t think Mark will lose that head of hair of his and she
thinks he will keep his beard as well. Since he?s had it for the last 45
years and we have only been married for 37 years, so I have obviously never
seen him without it. I have always told him I?d have to leave him if he
shaved off his beard, so if Dr. Kwan is right, our marriage is saved! We
then met with Dr. Patricia Sylla, our candidate for surgeon of the century.
Dr. Sylla is also an Instructor at Harvard Medical School with an MD from
Cornell, a Residency at Columbia, a Fellowship at Mt. Sinai, as well as
having just the perfect mix of caring and expertise to be the perfect fit
for us. She thinks Mark looks great and is fully ready for what he has to
face with the chemotherapy. I told her I was a bit concerned that he has
lost eleven pounds since the surgery, but she explained that she removed
five of those pounds with the transverse section of colon and the
surrounding fatty tissue that had to come out to make sure she got the lymph
nodes. I have no idea how we could be so lucky as to get two such beautiful
people as Mark?s physicians, but we did and we are most grateful. Dr. Sylla
reassured us that having the chemo treatments executed here on the Cape
would be fine. Both doctors pointed out that if Mark should have any
problems, particularly an infection, it would be very beneficial to have a
doctor here on the Cape to deal with that immediately. So we will meet Dr.
Victor Aviles whose office is only 1.5 miles from our location here at
Fiddler?s Cove Marina and make final decisions from there.

After leaving Mass General, we walked the couple of blocks to Whole Foods to
do some food shopping, stopped at IKEA on the way home to pick up some items
for Heather and Jed, and got invited to have dinner with the Goldstones when
we delivered the goods. We had a wonderful mushroom risotto with salad and
got to spend time with those two beautiful grandsons.

I?ll end by sending our love to my sister-in-law, Conda. She is having a
battle with brain cancer and has had a couple of setbacks in the past week.
Conda, stay strong and know that we are thinking of you and sending you our
most positive thoughts.