So far, so good!
- Sunday - finished up a fun weekend in Louisiana with Joe, Kevin & Mary Ann Kniebel. We stayed in an old plantation B&B, cruised the Atchafalaya Swamp/Bayou, ate a lot of good Cajun food, stuffed ourselves on beignets after church and cruised back to BOHICA via the Louisiana coastline where we spent a bit of time at the beach.
- Monday - Joe headed back to Kansas with the Kniebels after spending 2 weeks with me in transit and settling in to the routine. You parent/farmer/rancher types know that's a long time to be away from the family and operation. Fortunately, we have great family, friends, and employees who took up the slack. The girls are wonderfully responsible, but they had a lot of help anyway from aunts, grandparents, neighbors, etc. They didn't lack for anything but motherly nagging. Fortunately for them, I am able to nag via cell phone, so we had that covered pretty well. Right girls? Monday was a federal holiday (MLK Day) and apparently tumors observe the federal calendar, so no treatment. I spent the day cleaning, changing sheets, doing laundry and the like. There is no designated day for this at home, so it was kind of nice in a weird, domestic way.
- Tuesday - Back to Work Day! I reported to the South Campus of MD Anderson for a special MRI. I am participating in 3 research studies, none of which will benefit me directly, but will hopefully benefit future patients. This one involved biopsies and MRIs through the course of treatment so that they can get a better handle on some markers that might help indicate which patients will respond well to what treatments. It has the added benefit that I get some physical evidence of the damage to the LB, which is pretty cool in my book. Since time was tight, I drove up to the main campus and availed myself of the valet parking for radiation patients. Since you come every day (except holidays, remember?), they have a circle drive where you drop your big mega cab truck at the door and pop in for treatment. I'm going to outline "treatment" for you in a bit, so don't worry. A doctor appointment was supposed to happen after that, but I had one Friday, so they cancelled. This enabled me to pop out to the airport to pick up Mom, who was flying in for a relaxing week at the BOHICA Resort and Golf Club. We dropped her bags and took the shuttle back up to MDA for a doctor and dietician appointment. After we were done, I put mom on the shuttle, I walked home and we made dinner. Cheese stuffed poblano peppers. Used the extra for omelets the next morning. Yum.
- Wednesday - Headed up on the shuttle for a morning treatment and weekly blood draw. This one involved some research blood and they wanted their money's worth. We got back at noon, had some lunch and I hopped the shuttle on back up to MDA. There is a really nice park to the NE of the campus and I went for a nice run. Worked up a really good sweat. Apparently, even in January, Houston humidity is atrocious. Headed up to the Endoscopy floor to get them lined out for tomorrow's test. They wanted to put me under and I didn't want to be put under. You can't look the LB in the eye if you're out. I won that round. Rolled in at 5:30 (greeted Mom with a "Hi honey. I'm home!" She did NOT have a cocktail waiting for me. Slacker.) and we did the dinner thing again. Grilled flank steak, in case you were wondering.
- Thursday - Woke up to rain (glad I got that run in!) Shuttled up to MDA for the daily treatment. Dashed back home again so I could "study" for an afternoon test. This time it was a scope and biopsy for the same trial that required the MRI on Tuesday. Boy, when those guys have a good candidate, they don't let you go. I had a research person with me all afternoon (turned out to be a long afternoon). They make sure that you're where you're supposed to be at the right time and that the docs get the right things for the study. I was to report at 12 pm and the procedure was to be at 1pm. Well, I don't think I got on the table until 3. I had the coolest Doc, Dr. Raju. He asked where I was from and responded, "It is really pretty there!" Turns out, his first faculty appointment was at KU Med. We had a far ranging discussion covering my former weight, risk factors, running, the Flint Hills, the CEO of KU Med, customer satisfaction, pay scales, K State, etc. One of his colleagues is a KSU grad who has both a DVM and an MD. I didn't get the name but I'm going back up to ask. Anyone know who it might be? Mom and I had lunch/dinner at MDA since we were both starving (nothing since 7 am) and that was the day.
- Friday - Still raining so we both shuttled up to MDA for the morning treatment (I would have walked normally). Afterwards, had a weekly appointment with Dr. Das, who is my radiation oncologist. He is also head of the Radiation Oncology Fellowship program, so that makes him one of the best. Excellent. When someone's toasting your innards, you want them to be really good. When they drew blood on Wednesday, there were no orders for the weekly routine draw, so back up for more blood. Now THIS is a cattle call. Everything else is very nice. This is take a number and we'll roll you through the chute. Then we headed for the Houston Museum of Natural History and spent the afternoon looking at Faberge artworks (wow!), T Rexes and mummies. Nice afternoon. Then for dinner, I'd been promising Mom Captain Benny's seafood. The Captain did not disappoint. Mom had a Corona, which is exactly the 2nd time in my life I've seen my mom drink a beer. I did not get a picture as I was too shocked.