Saw two doctors yesterday: the orthopedist for my shoulder, and Dr. R, the oncologist, for...my lymph nodes (?). Reports below.
In the morning, I saw the orthopedist and was with him for about 5 minutes. My shoulder still hurts from my fall 10 days ago, and I can't lift my arm more than about halfway up if I hold it out to the side. But it's actually feeling a little better, and even that halfway movement is an improvement over a week ago.
The orthopedist wants me to have an MRI next week to see what kind of damage I did. If it's only a partial injury to the rotator cuff, it will heal on its own. Otherwise, surgery and a long recovery. (And probably switching this blog to one that features videos of me on my web cam instead of writing. Nobody wants that, really, so let's hope for the best.)
Much more importantly, I met with Dr. R in the afternoon afternoon. He sympathized with the shoulder injury, and showed me an exercise that he often has breast cancer patients do to strengthen their shoulder muscles.
Then we talked about cancer. As always, my appointments with him involve three parts: blood work, a physical exam, and self-reports of how I am feeling.
Blood work is "perfect," to use his word.
Physical exam was fine. Nothing popping up anywhere, nothing swelling that shouldn't be.
Self-report was good. Other than the shoulder, I'm feeling OK.
I asked him if there was any new lymphoma research that stood out for him. He mentioned that there were some new monoclonal antibodies in the pipeline, but time would tell if they were an improvement over Rituxan. He said that he knew that he and I had talked about Bendamustine a few years ago, and now that he had a few years of experience with it, he was impressed. He thinks that, depending on particular circumstances, he would likely recommend Bendamustine + Rituxan for the next time I need treatment. He likes its effectiveness, and its tolerability.
He also talked a little bit about the immunotherapy treatments that have made so much news lately (the anti-PD1 treatments). He and his colleagues at Yale Medical School are especially excited about these general approaches. They are mostly being used for solid cancers, and he couldn't remember if there were any results yet for blood cancers [there are], but he was impressed that the anti-PD1 approach was working on so many different types of cancers. Always cool to see a pro get all excited about a treatment.
We talked about my getting a scan, too. He said maybe in the spring or summer. Still no great urgency. Plus he knows I have that MRI coming up, and he doesn't want to put me through more lying still any time soon.
I will see Dr. R again in May.
Still hurts if I write too much, but it's worth it if the news is good.