As the Trial Turns

Friday night turned into Saturday morning, and there I was- lying on my side in a hospital bed while this guy had his arm halfway up my bum. He finished up about 1:30am and that was the end of a seven and a half hour odyssey at Erlanger’s* Emergency Room. NOT HOW I PLANNED TO START MY WEEKEND. As I mentioned last week, my pain meds have caused me to be full of “it”. Throw in some hemorrhoids and profuse bleeding, and you get to spend the night in a “healthcare” facility instead of with your children. In the end (no pun intended) they had no answers for me, but thought I looked good enough, so they sent me home.

Saturday and Sunday were spent in ‘round-the-clock discomfort (as was much of the past week to be fair). The sole exception was the usual sanctuary- my son's soccer games (but even that silver lining had a literal storm cloud). Yes, the CFC U11 boys had another tournament this week. Thankfully, however, we hosted this one in Chattanooga. We played a couple of games in the muggy heat of Saturday. Despite the weather, it was just what the doctor ordered. A final pool play game and championship game were planned for Sunday, but as the storms rolled in they were cancelled. When the cancellation was announced, there was the typical young boy tantrum response to the rain-out: pouting, crying, kicking, screaming, whining, and equipment throwing. My son was also upset.

As the Trial Turns…

On the continuing saga of the clinical trial, this is a big week- one way or another. As you may know, we've been trying to get started on a clinical trial for a few weeks. We were lucky to get one of the final spots in the trial, and have been trying to tick off all of the boxes to meet the program requirements. The latest problem is that we weren't able to get a sufficient number of slides containing live cancer cells in my last biopsy. We've since gathered all of the “backup” slides and submitted them in hopes that we'll meet the threshold. We''ll find out early this week if we've satisfied those requirements.

In the meantime, it’s been thirty-five days since my last treatment. Without treatment, the tumor is presumably growing (because that’s what tumors do), and every day that passes is another step in the wrong direction. During my prognosis  in March, I was told that a patient at my stage typically has six months to live without treatment. Put in that context, this has been a long time to go without treatment. Consequently, this week, we will fish or cut bait. If we can finally start to the trial, we will. If there is another delay, then I think we will likely bail on this particular trial, start another course of traditional treatment, and start looking for another trial.

Obviously, none of this is ideal. From the beginning, however, I’ve felt that before this is over I will experience high highs, low lows, and everything in between. As with any great movie, the worse position the good guy is put into, the better the ending when he eventually triumphs. When I get bad news, it just makes me think of how much better the story will be when I win.

Overachieving 101: by Christian S. Rushing

Lest I end on a down note (again), I offer some good news. D and I celebrated our wedding anniversary tonight! How in the world she has managed to put up with me for lo these many years is one of humankind's great questions. This year, we attempted to right a wrong. We had dinner at St. John's- as we have for all but one of our anniversaries. The one year we decided to switch it up and go somewhere else was also the year that I was diagnosed with cancer. As we are both mildly superstitious, there was no way in the world we were going anywhere other than the Saint. Hopefully, we have set the grand scheme of the universe back in order, and things will return to normal shortly. We'll see...

Erlanger Emergency Room playlist: There is no music or joy of any form in this place.

*This was, by far, the worst experience I have had in any hospital (and I‘ve been in a few recently). A trip to the hospital is never going to be a pleasant experience, but Erlanger was truly awful. Dear Lord, please don’t let me end up there again.

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