Official Diagnosis: Amazing
That’s what Dr. Dadu—once referred to as “God,” by my chemo doc, since she is the endocrinologist running my cure show while he, the radiation doc and the surgeon (who may have been a bit more of a cowboy than the others, but that’s surgeons) were supporting actors—said to me today.
”Amazing,” she said. “You look amazing on the computer.” She was talking about my ultrasound and PET/CT scan.
”And you look amazing in person,” she said.
I will take it, baby!
And I didn’t even tell her about my new gig as a radio DJ!
I was in Houston yesterday for my six-week dose of immunotherapy (pictured on the top of this post). On every other visit, I get scanned to make sure all is clear, as I say it.
I was at MD Anderson before 6 a.m. so I could get my blood test and be in position for signing up for the Imogene Pass Run at 7 a.m. just before my 7:30 a.m. neuro interventional (or something like that) ultrasound and my PET/CT scan.
I had a slight panic attack when I got hauled out of the immunotherapy waiting room to see Dr. Dadu, only to be called back to immunotherapy, only to be called back to Dr. Dadu’s office, but I can do running around, no problem. It was a scheduling snafu.
And, who the fuck cares when you‘ve gotten an official diagnosis of amazing and successfully signed up for the Imogene Pass Run!
AND, my hip flexors are feeling better thanks to my physical therapist teaching me about a fairly narrow but strategically important muscle called an adominis-something-or-other-miss that I’ve been trying to remember to flex once an hour!
I stayed at my cousin Sarah's house. She finally has her new kitchen--the one they were going to start working on back in October but I moved in for two months. So they started it in January and it looks FABULOUS!
I also met with MD Anderson's counseling department and learned all sorts of helpful stuff about anxiety. And, these dudes are into mindset. I'm not afraid to use the word "cured" around them. I mean, I drop it here and there in other departments. In surgery, they can run with it. In endocrinology they get pretty uptight when I drop the word "cured." But in counseling, Thomas, the counselor I talked to--after I talked to a nurse and psychiatrist--said that mindset is really important. "Your body," he said, "follows the mind, and what you believe can have a physical impact." Your body can shut down depending on your thoughts, he said. So I told him I was writing a memoir called: Cured. He was all for it.
While I was getting my immunotherapy I took my Zoom memoir class and yesterday, classmates commented on Chapter 2 of Cured. I’ve been taking this class for two years now, skipping a few here and there but not many. This class is the best ever, packed with great writers and a lot of us have been writing together for several classes now and it is really a wonderful group. There are some new writers and they are equally great.
They really like it. They said it was ballsy and badass and fast-paced and fighting. It was so gratifying because when I turned it in, I thought, this is really a treading water chapter, it’s something that I wrote to get where I actually want to go. They also liked that I included our instructor in it. Because I emailed her the day after I got the diagnosis.
And the thing is, my instructor, Joselin, knows what exactly what it’s like to live with a medical sword of Damocles over her head because she has the same gene that killed her dad, and one of her uncles and possibly some other family members. She wrote the book on it. It’s called The Family Gene. Everyone in the class adores Joselin so they liked that. AND, what was really cool is there are other people in the class also living on medical precipices themselves and what they had to say about the authenticity of what I wrote was also incredibly heartwarming.
Here we all are, zooming away. Joselin is in the top left.
Anyway, I’m in Oberlin now, helping Gav move out for the end of the year!
And celebrating my brother Tom's successful hip replacement surgery, which he had yesterday! Also, Sarah's new dog Ajax got fixed yesterday and he is doing well, too. All in all, yesterday was a big day for the Rices. And a good one. Thank God.