Another week, and another excellent trip to Iowa is in the books. (That's the second leg of my Three Week, Three Trip, Three Continent adventure). The cloud to that silver living of a trip was a conference call I had with my oncologist on Wednesday. When he and I last spoke, we were talking about how well I seemed to be responding to chemotherapy. Our plan was to stay the course and return to Houston in September for another scan. Since that time, the June scan was scrutinized and my case taken back before the tumor board. After further review, it appears there is a new lesion on my liver. That coupled with an increased tumor marker number from a couple of weeks ago has them quite concerned. The new plan was for me to head to Houston in a couple of weeks for another scan.
How quickly did those plans change. Over the next couple of days, operating under the assumption that the chemo is not actually working, the doctors have been trying to pair me with a clinical trial. It turns out that there is one that seems to be perfectly aligned with my condition. The problem is that it is a globally competitive trial that has only twelve spots, ten of which are filled. To sign on, I have to go to Houston today to do the paperwork. The rub is that by the time I get there, those final two spots may be filled. Rub or not, if there is a chance I have to take it. (By the time you read this, it will be decided one way or another- I’ll do my best to update below if I can).
|Ain't that some ----. C'mon Delta- it's my birthday!|
(Also, not an encouraging sign as I'm racing across the country
to get one of the final slots of a competitive clinical trial.)
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Moving past the obvious disappointment that my condition may have taken a turn for the worse, this is a bummer on a couple of levels. First, today is Christianmas, and I would much rather spend my birthday with my family than on an airplane or in a Cancer Center. Secondly, I had plans and appointments for today and tomorrow.
Over the past four months I’ve been doing a pretty good job in pressing forward with life as usual (if I may so myself). I schedule my treatments and trips like any other piece of business. I’m at crucial points in that work, both in the implementation of a riverfront master plan in Iowa and in the reestablishment of a Design Studio in Chattanooga. Between the tumor and the chemo I’m not 100%, but I’ve been able to hold it together well enough during business hours to work effectively. When the last minute call was made to travel today, I was almost more ticked about having to cancel my meetings, than I was about the condition being worse. Apparently, I am so convinced that I will win, the ole priorities have shifted around.
This is a reminder that I am not in control. Of course, in the greater cosmic sense, none of us are in control of anything anyway. That I’m not in total control is frustrating. The acceptance of that fact is liberating. Focusing on the things I can control is a much more manageable and productive exercise. For now I can control how I comport myself. I can, to some extent, control how I spend my time. In the end, I suppose this is all we can ever ask of life anyway.
For now, I plan to treat myself to an obscenely priced Christianmas dinner. With any luck I will return to Chattanooga tomorrow with a spot in this clinical trial. Delta-willing, I will depart on Wednesday for the final leg of the Three Week,
UPDATE: Yes, I did make it into the trial.
Let’s play a game! Please venture a guess at where in the world I am going this week and send it to me before the end of the day on the 28th. If you guess correctly, I will bring a treat back for you. (If you know, keep it to yourself). For those keeping score, I have made two trips in two weeks, but have only been on one continent. (Therein lies a clue)