Saturday, December 11, 2010

Center of Excellence

I'm very much into the holiday spirit now.  My Christmas shopping is about 99% done, and now I feel like I can just sit back and enjoy the holiday.
   My next treatment is not scheduled until the week in between Christmas and New Year's, so I get an extra "feel good" week.  I'm considering this a present from my oncologist to me! :)

  I got a phone call last week from my oncologist at Huntsman (Dr. Glenn).  We talked for about a half hour about what her thoughts were on my cancer / BMT.   Here are some things she told me (in no particular order :)

1.  When my cancer transformed into a more aggressive cancer,  I then had aggressive cancer cells, as well as slow growing cancer  in my body.
2.  This round of chemo should kill all the aggressive cancer, as well as the slow growing cancer.
3.  The slow growing cancer will eventually come back; although that could be years down the road.
4.  There is no proof that having a BMT at this point will extend my life any more than just having the 6 rounds of chemo.
5. It is a good idea to pull stem cells and store them at this time, because they will be more viable later down the road if they've been exposed to less chemo.

That's mostly the gist of what we talked about.  But it was good to hear her opinion on the matter.

I will be going in this next week for a follow up PET scan to see if the cancer is gone.  Then the week of Christmas I will be taking those results to 2 consult appts with BMT specialists.   I had already scheduled to have a consult at LDS Hospital, and then when Dr. Glen called she said she would have the Huntsman BMT group call to set up an appt.  At first this may seem somewhat redundant, but like I said before, I need all the info I can get before committing to something as big as a transplant.  Even just having stem cells harvested and stored, I want to make sure I'm at the best possible facility.
  I called my insurance to see if one was covered over the other (that always makes the decision easier :).  She said that they cover facilities considered "centers of excellence"; meaning they have a very high success rate, etc.  Of course that's where I would want to go, right?  So she checked LDS and Huntsman and told me they are both covered, and they are both "centers of excellence".  So she she set a contract for me under both facilities, and told me it was good for me to get a few opinions.  I was glad to hear that from the source that ultimately will facilitate paying for the services!

   So, long story long....  I will be seeing TWO specialists at TWO different facilities at TWO different appointments....on the same day.  That should help me make ONE huge decision.  But either way, it's looking like I will be having the stems cells harvested,  stored and saved for a future recurrence / transplant.


I am the proud recipient of answered prayers.  Whose?  YOURS!  I just want to thank you all again for you continued thoughts and prayers.  Anyone who has gone through any sort of trial will attest to this:  Prayers on your behalf are what keep you going and moving forward, even when you just don't think you can.  So thank you, thank you all again!  ~♥
( From last night at the Sutherlands event with Santa.  Josh (equipped with a balloon sword)  and Hope could not wait to help the SA bell ringer)


  1. Stem cell harvest is much easier than a bone marrow harvest and a whole lot easier to recover from, so that is great! And it is wonderful that your insurance would cover them both.

    Enjoy the holiday season!

  2. So good to hear you're doing so well, Jen! Wishing you and your family the very merriest Christmas! We will keep praying! Love you!