Bring on the Summer

After leaving the Mouse and Wizard behind, we headed to the ATL for the last soccer tournament of the spring. The CFC u-10 boys acquitted themselves well against some of the best teams in the Southeast, and the boy scored a few goals (with a couple of gems). After sitting in the sun for a couple of days, the family went in four separate directions- the youngest went to my in-laws, the oldest went to the beach with his friend, D headed to Chi-town, and I took off to Houston to see the kind folks at M.D. Anderson.

We were all a bit tuckered out. Shout out to Clark Griswold.
 Even without chemo, a week of walking through frenzied theme parks in the June heat of Orlando would be enough to wear me down. Throw in a couple of days of Atlanta heat, several hours of driving, a couple of delayed flights, and I was limping into Houston. I caught an Uber from the airport straight to the medical center for my first CT scan since we started chemotherapy.

As I was waiting to be called in, I got a face-time call from my oldest. (Did I mention that he was on his second vacation in as many weeks?) I knew I was in trouble as soon as I heard his voice. I was tired as hell and totally unprepared for his call. I probably looked like shit (believe it or not, it does happen), and there was a room full of cancer patients in the shot behind me. He was very sweet in asking about me, but I could tell that seeing this version of me in this setting disconcerted him. I managed to hold it together just long enough to get through the call. I told him I loved him and hung up. Before the echo of my goodbye faded, I lost it. Fatigue from the past couple of weeks, the fact that I was eighteen hours into a fast, and anxiety over what was to come in the next few days contributed to that moment of vulnerability. That’s the first time I’ve lost it throughout this whole ordeal. I must say I was pissed off at myself. Not necessarily for crying, but for doing it in front of people who are in the same boat. In the three months of coming out here I haven’t seen anyone else cry. I had to be that guy. Tsk, tsk.  On the bright side, however, I held it together in front of the boy, which is far more important.

After that sucker punch, I put on the headphones, listened to some pre-game music, and managed to get my swag back. After the scan, I repaired to the hotel and treated myself to a movie and room service. I ordered so much food that it took two stewards and two carts to wheel everything to the room. The food buzz and dulcet tones of Tropical Storm Bill contributed to a great night of sleep.

My first appointment of the next day was with Dr. Javle to review the results of the scan. The scans showed what I had suspected all along. My cancerous tumor is orange and white checker-boarded and shaped like a 102,455 seat shithole. The CT techs also reported that it appeared to be emitting sounds in the form of an annoying song played in a non-stop loop. God, I hate this cancer. Thankfully, the chemotherapy is delivered on a tide of my Crimson blood.

What my tumor probably looks like.

Fortunately, it appears that my treatment has been working to some extent. The tumor marker is down by about 40%, and the tumor appears to be shrinking. There is no evidence of metastasis, and the rest of my blood work looks good. The plan is to continue chemo for the next three months and then get in front of the tumor board at MD Anderson to review progress and establish next steps. The hope within the C Team is that the tumor responds in such a way that the surgeons will feel comfortable with resection. Fingers crossed.

What my chemo probably looks like.

Everyone seems to be pleased with the results. This is definitely better than the alternative, but I’m not terribly impressed. I fully expected that the tumor would be responding. I’m not content with just good news- I wanted great, F’ing outstanding news. I suppose this is one of the dangers of having high expectations.

I will remain true to my original promise, however, and celebrate every victory along the way. It appears that I have been gifted another three months of relatively normal life (with the obvious caveat that tomorrow is guaranteed to none of us). The summer should be fun: I will be spending time with D and the boys; I’ve got plenty to accomplish from a work standpoint; I intend to play a bit of golf; and I have some travel planned. I will try to try to keep up the blog, but may fiddle with the length, frequency, and/or subject matter. Who knows what the summer holds…

Last week's pre-game music at MDA included a C.Rushing all-time favorite: Take me into the night, I'm an easy lover. Take me into the fight, I'm an easy brother.

No comments:

Post a Comment