Jerry and I flew out to Texas for Declan’s birthday, Jerry came from Tampa. I came in from DC. We celebrated with that amazing seven year old, went to kids’ swim team practices and Declan’s basketball games. I walked up to meet them on the way home from school each day and would get the scoop on the best and worst parts of the day on our way home. We played endless games of War and I helped Declan with his hundredth day of school project. (Find 100 of something and find an interesting way to display it) Declan decided on Legos and he counted out 100 and set out to build a truck. That was a tad too hard. Robot? Not going to work with just 100. Wilkie talkie? Bingo..got it. Done and ready for Thursday…
Then on Sunday Jerry and I rented a car and drove to Houston Usually when we get there we’re alone at my sister’s house. Anne and Clark always traveling but we lucked out this time they were home and we had a few days to visit, go out to dinner and play some cards when we weren’t at MD Anderson for my checkup. We even got to see my niece, Jill’s, new house…still being built but on its way going to be gorgeous.
Anderson is the same every time–Blood work first and then the CT scan. Time consuming but not awful. The hardest part is the waiting room, sitting there with people who, even when I was going through treatment, were a lot sicker than I was. There was a Muslim woman and her daughter waiting for blood work near us. They had already been Houston for about two months. They were from Qatar. We’ve seen Muslims from Arab countries there before but this time it gave me pause. How many of foreign nationals in the days to come will get word that Anderson will take them only to find out they can’t get into the US?
CT scans are really simple … but they haven’t been so easy the last few times. I’ve had a bit of trouble when they start the contrast through the IV, it shoots excruciating pain up my arm. The first time it happened I was terrified. I had a friend who was allergic to iodine and coded during a scan. Really, I thought I might die right there. Now I’m not scared when it happens. It just hurts. Don’t know why. They don’t seem to know either. Something about the position of my arm and the IV needle. whatever. Small price to pay for a clear scan now that I know it won’t kill me.
So Day One is always tests and Day Two is the meeting with the doctor…actually with his PA, first, then with Dr. Ho. It’s easy to know if the scans are good. All I have to do is watch the way Lyndsey, Dr. Ho’s PA, walks in…at least I don’t think she’d be so cheerful and smiling if the news were bad. Actually, I have a feeling if the news were bad, it would be Dr. Ho walking through the door, not his PA.
So everything is fine and my next checkup is next February. Lucky, lucky me. Life is incredibly good.
And I’m so glad I went to Anderson. I know not everyone can afford to pull up stakes and move to another city for seven months. Not everyone has a partner who will come with her and take care of everything. And certainly not everyone has a sister and brother in law who will open their home and let you move in for an indefinite length of time. And not everyone will survive even if they do have all that and get themselves to top notch cancer center. But based on my experience, I would strongly recommend that anyone who can find a way to do it should do just that. It really can be the difference between life or death.
We’re heading home on Thursday after Calli’s birthday and we’ll hit the ground running. Jerry is having bypass surgery on February 9.(prayers and positive thoughts for that one, folks) Life is never boring but we’ll both heave huge sigh of relief when the next few months are behind us and we can get on with our lives. We still have lots of places to go and people to see…
Love to all..