Thursday, May 6, 2010

D Day Minus 227 (July 24, 2009)

“I’ve got to get my lottery tickets. It’s getting up there.” Dad said as I texted you that we made it to Sheetz – exit 273 on I81. Our first stop on the way to Bassett.

“Yeah right, like you are going to win the lottery.” I teased. But really I imagined Dad would win the lottery — a lot. Especially, since you were diagnosed. That way we wouldn’t have to worry about money to pay for airfare, hotels, insurance coverage or missing work. And we all could move to Hawaii and live on the beach. I’d imagine it all the way to Harrisonburg, while Dad yammered about some work crises or complained about the stupid drivers on 81. I’d smile at Dad in the driver’s seat and nod while I’d secretly imagine:

Dad yelling from living room in Bassett sitting on his brown leather couch, “Damnit Nance.” Then I’d roll my eyes and mutter, “Now what?” Then Dad would say, “I just won the lottery.” I’d give him a big hug, then smile so hard that it hurt, the way it did when I got carried away with Facercise. Then I would do the happy dance, like I did in April when you got a clean bill of health. I imagined it in slow motion, with stereo, and with smells. I really wanted him to win.

Dad glanced over at me when we pulled up to the pump and asked, “What’s so funny?” I smiled and said, “I need to make a pit stop.” And jumped out of the Expedition.

I think that was the first time I smiled on that trip. I felt bad about leaving you, but we needed to mow and check the garden so Dad could go to Houston. Besides I really wanted to give you space now that you and Katie came out of the closet. You said, “Go Mom, I’ll be fine. I’ll make Katie a special dinner on Saturday... She’ll stop by after her Dad’s birthday dinner tonight before she goes in for her nightshift.... I won’t be alone.”

Earlier in the afternoon, we finally got answers to your questions from Dr. P.  You printed off the email, so I wouldn’t make you repeat the answers. We learned that you would get two cycles of bio/chemo (cisplatin, vinblastine, dacarbazine, interferon) then get scanned in six weeks. You wouldn't get the IL2 component of the treatment for now because it increased the risk of a bowel perforation like last February. For this treatment, there was a 40 to 50 percent response rate with a 5 to 10 percent total response rate. You would probably lose your hair. You should be able to get the treatment as an outpatient over the weekend or evenings in Houston. Dr. P. did not want to do consider surgery at this point, so TIL was not in the picture for now.

You checked to see if the treatment had been schedule on your MD Anderson account, but there was nothing there. We didn't know the actual dates of the treatment to make travel arrangements, which drove me crazy. I tried not to get stressed and tried to feel better by telling myself that we would know more on Monday and that there may be even better deals on flights and that there are plenty of hotels and that you were getting the best care possible. 

I kept telling myself things to stop worrying until we finished packing the Expedition. 

You hugged me outside on the driveway before Dad and I headed to Bassett and said, "It'll all work out fine." 

When we left Sheetz, I really tried to imagine Dad winning the lottery all the way to Harrisonburg, but I kept thinking about the stupid email. I knew the treatment was going to be rough and I wouldn't be with you in Houston. I looked out the passenger window and watched the blue sky and green mountains blur as the tears fell down my cheeks.

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