I am taking IV infusions of pamidronate once a month. This is one of the bone enhancement drugs they give to patients with cancer. When I went to TCI in NY, my surgeon was concerned about the fact that I have osteoporosis. This could negatively affect the craniocervical fusion that I need. Therefore, he stated that he wanted me to have six months of some kind of bone enhancement therapy.
I now have a wonderful hematologist/oncologist. He is one of the many reasons that moving to our new home was obviously the thing God wanted us to do. He's very caring and I trust him completely. We discussed the three choices for therapy. One, Zometa, is very popular right now because it only takes an hour to infuse. The other, Forteo, we decided against because it is contraindicated if you have jaw pain, which I do. Zometa was out because the manufacturer states not to take it if you have bone disease. So, we settled on the pamidronate which is something of the old standby med, I'm told. It takes about 2.5 hours to infuse.
My husband drives me to the beautiful cancer center that features an amazing waterfall. It must be fifty feet long, and a couple of feet high with lots of water recirculating over it, and faux petroglyphs carved into the faces of some of the rocks to mimic a Native fishing area nearby, for which the center is named.
The people here are extraordinary. The staff, every one of them, is kind and compassionate. I am so impressed with the level of care offered here. I sit in one of the comfy, blue leather recliners and visit with the nurses or perhaps other patients while the drip above pours into my veins the hope for a successful head/neck fusion. It causes me to feel sleepy and I usually take a nap. If I push the recliner all the way back into a more reclining position, I can taste the medication, which is bearable but unpleasant.
A lovely and polite elderly woman comes by and offers snacks after awhile. Little plates of crackers and cheese or cookies, if you prefer. And juice, water or coffee. One time, a massage therapist came and gave me a foot massage and we had a friendly visit.
If I have a question, I fax it to the office there, and within a day's time, my oncologist himself will call me and always open with, "What can I do for you?"
This center should be a model for all medical clinics everywhere. The doctors are wise and respecting of their patients, involving them in their own choices for care, showing CTs on the computer to them. Even though I am going there to get poked for an IV and because of my thin blood and strong heart, there's always a bit of "blood letting," the time is pleasantly spent. All it takes for doctors and medical staff to have a winning relationship with their patients is to honor and respect them, and to care. What a concept!
This was my third infusion. I will have 3 more. If, for some reason, my skull/neck fusion is delayed for a month or more past the sixth pamidronate infusion, I will ask my doctor if it would make sense for me to have more treatments. I trust him, and I want the best chance possible for a successful craniocervical fusion.