Sunday, September 12, 2010

D Day Minus 173 (September 17, 2009): Part 3: Spread the Word

We were still at MD Anderson. It was right after your appointment with Dr. F. We’d just gotten off the B Elevators on Level Three in the Main Building. You were a little annoyed because I Rainmanned the Trial Coordinator, Hobby, about the schedule so I could make travel arrangements. Hobby seemed confused about whether you were staying in Houston or traveling back and forth from Virginia. I kept saying that we were not going to stay in Houston. Even after a few rounds of saying and repeating the plan to Hobby, I still had that feeling that I wasn’t being heard. But, I just let that one go. I had other things to worry about like Dad’s inquisition about other trials and the direction we were going and why wasn't surgery an option. I knew it was coming. He’d tried to call me (along with Morgan) while we were with the doctor. I'd chewed my Dentyne so hard, thinking about all the loose ends, my jaw muscles hurt.  I put my Dentyne in an old wrapper, because I couldn't take it anymore. 

“Are you mad?” I asked forcing myself to breathe slower and tossing my Dentyne in the trash.

“They are still figuring out the trial, Mom. You need calm down. You aren’t listening and you are repeating yourself when you are talking to Hobby. I’m not mad or trying to be mean. There is nothing we can do right now, so there’s no point in getting worked up.” You said with dead calmness. “You need to patient.”

“I just want you in the trial as soon as possible, because I had a good feeling about the drug.” I said, knowing I had the patience of a two year old. I was excited because there was some hope on the horizon. You were a good candidate, insurance shouldn’t be a problem, it was only a pill – twice a day, you could still work, and other participant’s tumors had shrunk on the GSK drug. To top that off, the PLX4032, a competing BRAF inhibitor, had promising results as well.  In fact PLX4032, was almost to Phase 2 Trials. I just wanted to get the party started.

“I know. So do I. And I do appreciate all you do.” You said checking the signal strength on your phone. You wanted to call Katie because she’d been texting you while you were talking to the doctor. I knew the signal wasn’t very good until we got to the Skybridge. It never was.

“I hate you.” I said pretending to slap your arm. You raised your eyebrows and said, “ Behave.” I said, ‘Whatever.” And didn’t give you the bird (but nearly did – until I thought I saw a doctor we knew). You just kept walking like a man with a mission. “Hey,” I said, mostly so you’d slow down. I had an epiphany to share and not much time to share it. We were almost to the Skybridge.

“Anyway, at least you can see Brian Regan in Roanoke at the Civic Center, on the 27th. You already had that day off from Wegmans. I’ll give you my ticket so you can take Katie. It will be fun. I want you to have fun. Besides I think it’s too late to get another ticket. And I don’t want to sit away from everyone. You and your sister can go and have fun.  I don't care if Dad goes without me either.  I'll be okay with whatever.” I yammered about Brian Regan and the routine about dogs barking and we laughed until we hit the Skybridge.

The onslaught of patients and doctors was thinning on the Skybridge as the day ended. We separated like we were on autopilot so our conversations could be somewhat private. You called Katie. I called Dad. He put me through the inquisition until he heard a break in my amour. After that he calmed down. Then I called Morgan. She was excited about the trial and her new haircut, the one with the short bob like Kate Walsh, on Private Practice. She’d been showing us pictures for over a week and she finally got it cut. She really was more excited about the trial. I promise. Her hair filled the gap in conversation so it wasn’t always about cancer. Next I called Aunt Janiene who drove me crazy. She kept asking if you were going to be on an IV. I only told "no" three times.  "You were taking a pill twice a day." You said Katie had a hard time grasping it all sometimes, too. I laughed because I realized I did the same thing earlier to Hobby, the Trial Coordinator. You know, it was the 'not knowing' or 'being in control' that was rearing its ugly head. Maybe there’s a little Rainman in all of us.

I called Aunt Sue and Uncle Paul while you called your Wegmans posse. Each time you mentioned them, you smiled because they were so supportive. They’d been texting you throughout the day, wishing you luck and sending you good thoughts.

After we spread the good news on the Skybridge, we were ready to eat and celebrate.  We decided to go with a big dinner at the The Oaks Restaurant at the Rotary House. We laughed about how much food we ate the last time we were here with Aunt Janiene -- in April. We hoped they had the same lemon cake again. You and I were filled with so many possibilites for the future -- all simple and easy as long as the trial worked. Before we sat down, I said, “I love you Turkeyman.” And you smiled.

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