The last two days have been great. Actually, they’ve been pretty perfect and today was just the culmination; the cherry on top. I’m floating high above the world on cloud nine and I don’t want to come down.
My husband, German, and I left Corpus Christi for Houston on pins and needles on Tuesday night. We headed there with high hopes for good results from the scans that I was going to have on Wednesday. We arrived in Houston, checked into our hotel, and made our way out to dinner with a couple of good friends. We ate dinner, had some pie, and laughed with our buddies to keep our minds off the impending tests the next morning. Tuesday had ended successfully despite anything Wednesday had in store for us.
Wednesday definitely had it in for us but it failed miserably in stealing our joy. We made our way to MD Anderson right on time for my first appointment at 9:30am for lab work in the Main Building. Fifteen minutes later, I was done. Since my next appointment for a CT scan was not for another hour and a half, I decided to take German on a tour of the MDA campus to kill some time. We stopped in the gift shop and I got an MD Anderson hoodie that I had been eyeing. We took the Skyway shuttle over to the other side in the Mays Clinic since I figured we would be back in time for my CT. Wrong. This is where Wednesday decided to try to get us.
As we hung out by the Tree Sculpture in the Mays Clinic, I took a look at my schedule just to make sure what time we had to be back. I noticed that my schedule listed an address that was not the address of the Main Building. I walked over to the information desk and the volunteer informed me that that address was not the Main Building and that we would have to catch the patient shuttle to get there. “Oh and it looks like it gets here in three minutes downstairs,” he added. German and I looked at each other and without a word, we made a run for it. Unfortunately, we arrived downstairs just in time to see the back end of the shuttle leaving around the corner (insert ‘Saved By the Bell’ theme song here). We shrugged it off and sat down to wait for the next one that would come around again in about 20 minutes.
It was after about 10 minutes waiting there that I realized that I no longer had the bag from the gift shop in my hand. I’d left my awesome new hoodie upstairs by the Tree Sculpture in the whole shuffle to get downstairs! Cue German running back upstairs to see if he could find it. He came back a few minutes later, bag in hand with my hoodie, safe and sound. Phew. The shuttle finally made it’s way back and we almost left the bag a second time on the bench we were waiting on. Forgetful much?
We arrived 30 minutes late for my CT but we made it. Still, we were in a great mood. I drank my berry-flavored contrast, got my I.V. (not without it burning), and got my CT scan. Three hours later, we were leaving the clinic but not before I noticed German’s wallet on the seat where he had been sitting. Wow, Wednesday. Really? Nice try. Unphased, we hopped back on the shuttle and went back to the Main Building to get our car. We spent the rest of Wednesday at the Houston Zoo and went out on a dinner date complete with live music and great food. We went to bed completely exhausted yet content from spending the day together. Even though Wednesday had tried to sabotage our day, it was sadly unsuccessful.
It was unsuccessful in stealing our joy because we’ve learned. We’ve learned not to worry about what tomorrow brings. We’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff. Worry doesn’t change anything but attitude can. Worrying is a ginormous waste of time and we had instead opted to spend that time enjoying the beautiful weather and each other. We went to bed fully expecting good results and nothing less. That’s exactly what God gave us.
My first appointment this morning was with my stem cell doctor, Dr. S. His sunny face as he walked into the exam room left no doubt this time. I’d never seen him smile so big. This time was different. This time it was great news. He immediately let us know that the radiation had done it’s job. The mass in my chest was gone and he could now proceed with the stem cell transplant! Talk about the weight of the world off of our shoulders! God has begun to lead me out of my desert and back onto the road to my Promised Land, my Canaan.
My second appointment with my lymphoma doctor after that was more of a continuing celebration rather than a follow-up. He came in with his assistant, both of them beaming from ear to ear. They’d never met my husband and after the introductions and required jokes about German being a figment of my imagination, all we did was rejoice and bask in the awesomeness of the news for the rest of the appointment. His assistant printed out copies of the before and after scans as a souvenir of sorts.
“I fully expect to see you back here in a few months in remission,” my doctor said as we were leaving. So do I.
At this point, my father and I are expected back in Houston by Wednesday, Oct. 24th to begin preparations for the transplant. My father will undergo extensive testing and surgery to harvest the bone marrow I need. Since my father is a half-match, they need to use his bone marrow instead of just his stem cells to give me more of a chance for success. Meanwhile, I will undergo chemotherapy that will stop my own marrow production in order to replace it with my father’s. Dr. S. expects to have the transplant done within the next two weeks. I will be spending at least the next four months in Houston starting Wednesday. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s will be spent there but I’m ok with that. What comes next is not going to be at all easy, but it’s a means to an end.
After being on pause for almost two years for this, I’m on fast forward all of a sudden and it is WEIRD. German and I cried tears of joy and almost disbelief at our good fortune as we drove away today from MD Anderson. I will enjoy every minute of my last weekend back home with my husband, my family, my friends, and my dogs. I am back on the road to Canaan. I better pack my big suitcase this time.