22 July 2014…Chemo 1; meeting Team Brendan – City

It’s been a huge couple of days; Tuesday was all about meeting more of Team Brendan, and preparing for what would happen the following day  — Bren’s first chemo treatment. We started off by meeting the acting Clinical Nurse Consultant, a really friendly and extremely busy young woman. in her  early 30’s, she is tall with a brown shoulder length bob.  As the acting CNC for youth cancer support services, it is her job to co-ordinate Bren’s appointments while we are down here, and to liaise between us and the specialists. She is constantly popping away to attend to other matters but is also making sure we are being well looked after.

Brendan’s first appointment today is to have blood taken, and then we wait. About 45 minutes to an hour later the acting CNC comes to find us and speed walks us to the cancer hospital for Bren’s CT scan.  We find out later that he shouldn’t be speed walking anywhere, he actually shouldn’t be walking at all without crutches, he is not supposed to be driving either….and he is not happy about that. He won’t be driving home. More waiting follows and then we are taken upstairs to meet Bren’s Oncologist: this consultation takes about an hour.

DR V looks like he is probably around Bren’s age; he is reasonably tall and fit looking. He has great skin and no hair. While chatting we discover that his wife is a crossfitter. — Bren and I had been crossfit training at home for a couple of years prior to his diagnosis, common ground is always good. He is in no rush to get us in and out. He is calm, speaks slowly and talks to us in an easy, friendly manner. I can see that CNC respects and admires Dr V and is pleased to be working with him, she tells me that he specialises in paediatric cases, adding that we’re fortunate to have him as a part of Bren’s team.  Bren likes him immediately.

On meeting Dr V I’m impressed too. I like him  instantly. Not that it would matter if I didn’t, but yep, I like him and it feels like a great fit!

This consultation is the first time we hear what type of cancer it is that Brendan has, we knew it was a sarcoma but now it has a name. Undifferentiated Pleomorphic sarcoma. It is rare and we are told what the worst case scenario is, which we all know with cancer, is the ability for it to end life. Hearing that articulated in relation to Brendan is shocking and emotional for both of us. But before that, we are told that this form of cancer is also highly treatable. So, this is what I heard, “what you have Brendan is very rare, it is more common in children and teens….and it is highly treatable.” I have never felt so relieved in all of my life. It Is ‘Highly Treatable.’

The next appointment is education, after another fairly lengthy wait it commences. It is with the Nursing Practitioner for chemo Day Therapy and he is fabulous. Kind, gentle and generous with his time, he has about 6 phones on him and I get the feeling everyone wants a piece of Carl. He is in high demand — which I think he enjoys. He explains the whole process and protocol for Brendan’s treatment tomorrow, in detail, and then goes through all the possible side effects. Which is eye opening and a little frightening.

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