I've had two visits to MD Anderson since my last post and all continues to be well! I keep going back because there are things they want to keep their eyes on, because of what I was diagnosed with.
"It's teeny tiny and if this were lung cancer, or kidney cancer," my immunologist said with a shrug, "we'd want to see you in three months of six months. But this cancer is so aggressive, we want to keep an eye on things."
Which is why I go back every six weeks for scans and immunotherapy. And why I meditate more than an hour each day.
"Things" that are, in the words of my radiation doctor, "itty bitty." Things that might be nothing. Things so small that they really can't accurately measure them because to do so would be My radiation doctor's nurse practioner looked at me and said, "your scans are great." What they saw, she said, "might be schmutz." But they're erring on the side of caution and I am all for it. If things do change. I have options.
I had back-to-back appointments from 6 a.m. until 6 pm, with time out to meditate in the MD Anderson chapel--a great place to meditate and a place with Kleenex boxes on both ends of every pew.
I had two pulmonary appointments because I have some lung inflammation from the radiation I got in May and June. It doesn't happen often and when it does happen, it tends to happen to the uber fit. I did a six-minute walk test today to see how I was doing. You just do the test walking up and down the hallway. "Stop running!" said the technician. "I'm not running," I said, "I'm power walking. This is running." And I jogged a few steps to show him the difference.
A few hours later, I met with the pulmonary doctor. "You're a super athlete here," he said, and told me that the reaction I'm having--some shortness of breath--will go away on its own. A lot of times they give people steroids to treat it but they can't give me steroids because it could undermine the CAR T cell immunotherapy treatment I got last fall. I am still up for another but they waiting for a few things, such as permission from the FDA and to see what happens with me.
"Who knows?" said my immunotherapy doctor. "You might not need it." I like that, because my hair has only recently recovered from the three chemo doses I got at the start of my CAR T cell treatment a year ago. A lot fell out in December and January--not noticeably, unless you were me and could see all the blonde hairs on the inside of my ski helmet. So my hairdresser said I could only highlight my hair, not bleach it, until it had fully recovered. Which she deemed it had last week. Dig it!
I felt so happy today, I thought "I am going to ask everyone on my Warrior-Goddesses blog to say thank you to God or whoever they pray to or wish to or whatever for all the good I have had happen to me here." I say thank you for all of you every morning and every night. But I felt particularly grateful today.
So tap-danced my way out to the taxi station after my immunotherapy infusion by a nurse named Anastasia who was a blast, loves to meditate, and talked about hiking to the top of Mount Sinai to watch the dawn and how incredible it was. It was a fun hour. And then when I waited for my Lyft to the airport, I met Thomas's mother.
She was sitting outside waiting for a bus to take her back to her hotel.
Thomas is 17 and the operation they did to remove a tumor was successful. But complications are popping up. They don't know how long he will be here. He is game, but for every step forward he makes, there's slippage.
His mom was calm. She's from Grand Rapids, Mich. And you know, midwesterners really can't show their emotions because if they do, they might make someone else feel badly.
But, she told me how brave he is being.
"I can't imagine how hard it is," I said as I sat next to her.
"Pray for him," she said. "His name is Thomas."
"I will," I promised. "And I have some other people who are good at praying or talking to the Universe or whatever and I'll tell them too."
So, I am.