Yesterday I met with oncologist Dr. Alan Kramer. I liked him a lot from the minute I first saw him, which is while I was in the reception area of the office, filling out forms. My nose started bleeding and he took immediate note of that. Terrified of the information I was about to learn in this meet, I was shored up by Deb Grabien and Bethy Levy who never left my side during the entire time. It was more than a comfort to have them there, it was a blessing and as it turns out, completely necessary because they heard things that I did not!
I felt so good when we first went in to the examining room and there were photographs of Sanatorini and Ephesus on the walls - all taken, I might add, by the good doctor himself. Although it is not really my impression of Greece, the classic impression most people who are not Greek have of that country is the pictures of the white washed, blue roofed buildings of Santorini. Yeah! Then the doctor came in to the room and examined me and interviewed me, taking copious notes of everything I said and not bothering to hide his disgust at the fact that I had suffered these symptoms for several years, and consulted many medical opinions about them, before the diagnosis. Yes, this should have been caught long ago. But it was not and it is what it is.
During the interview, Dr. Kramer asked me what I did for a living and I told him. He said "wait here, I'll be right back" and while he was out of the room, I asked Deb and Bethy if they thought the doctor was a Deadhead. Could be... Jewish, Brooklyn, right age... he definitely fit the demographic -- so when he came back in the room I asked if he was a dead head... he said no but one of his patients was the guitarist who took over for Jerry Garcia... yes, we had in our own way stumbled upon on Mark Karan's doctor (and the funny thing is, the night before this visit, I emailed David and asked if he would have Mark call me).
Signs are definitely pointing toward my choosing Dr. Kramer even though he said he really cannot help me directly with chemotherapy, he referred me to a surgeon at UCSF whom I will see on Friday. I just pray that this surgeon can remove the cancer and leave my nose adhered to my face!
And by the way, I called Mark last night and we had a long talk about the disease and the changes in our lives because of it. He is a wonderful resource and a very special person. I have every confidence that I will beat this disease, with a LOT of help from my friends.