I got the phone call we were looking for yesterday from Dr. Pippas. He has managed to work with Dr. Dan George at Duke University Hospital to get our consultation appointment moved up a full two weeks! The new appointment time is 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11.
I have filled out all my new patient forms online (how nice to have them digital!) and have submitted them to the doctor’s office. The scheduling person, Stephanie, wasn’t able to answer all my questions about what might happen while we’re there. Will there be blood work? Will there be scans? Will I take a treadmill stress test? I don’t know the answers to these questions, so I will be packing Xanax, just in case they decide to slide me into a tube, either feet- or face-first.
Getting this appointment moved up is HUGE for me. I have been a basket case, although a calm one. The way my mind works is that once I have made it up regarding a particular course of action, I simply cannot sit around and wait for things to happen. I want to go NOW. The tone of my phone calls to Dr. Pippas’ office has been, frankly, more intense as I have made them. I think I have been somewhat of a pest, but we have a small business to run and the possibility of the first vacation we’ve taken in a long, long time scheduled, too. We need to keep the business running and we want to be able to take this Caribbean vacation with two couples of our best friends.
I am thinking, “If we could get this ball rolling, we can do the therapy, I’ll have time to get over it and we can still make the Water Island trip.” That really wasn’t practical, given the time some of this stuff takes. So, with the great gift of an earlier consultation appointment with Dr. George, we’ll be able to learn all we need to know about whether I’ll qualify for the treatment, what we have to do to prepare for it, get out the April magazine and still make our trip. Then, if Duke’s scheduling will permit, we’ll start the treatment as shortly after March 5 as we can.
With the usual one week on and two weeks off and one week back on scenario, by mid-May I should be cancer free, ready to hug my family and friends, golf, fish, kayak and continue to look for ways to embarrass my children. If I make it through to the healthy conclusion of HDIL-2 that I envision attaining, my next point of focus will be to urge the appropriate parties to produce us a grandchild.
None of our sons are married. Some are more seriously dating than others. We’d appreciate them getting things done in the right order and all that – but damn it, I want a grandchild!
When the HDIL-2 purges me of cancer, I also intend to write about other things in the blog than kidney cancer. There is so much more than I can write about! My head is completely stuffed with some useful things to impart and also some useless drivel that only weird people would want to read. Since I have quite a few weird readers, they’ll be happy with those writings, I’m sure.
Jill and I are reading now, trying to prepare for the HDIL-2 treatment. We won’t know which of the awful potential side effects will bother me. But we have to assume they all will, and be ready with the proper clothing, shoes, lotions, diversions and drugs to counteract them.
One of my favorite tree-hugger, animals-are-people-too people, Callie Sprague, has convinced me to use visualization so that my mind will condition my body to find and kill these cancer cells. What I may not have said about this particular cancer and the HDIL-2 therapy is interesting. The very toxic drip that they’ll mainline into my heart every 6 hours doesn’t kill cancer. It is designed to ramp up your immune system and allow it to literally rise up and kill the cancer cells, no matter where they are in your body.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that Kate Nerone gave me a sock monkey after reading one of my posts in which I referred to this lovable sock-skinned creature. Until that monkey ripped the face off that woman in Stamford, Conn., I would have never considered a monkey as my preferred mascot in an ass-whipping competition. Something with a more fierce reputation, like a honey badger, would surely be a better talisman for my upcoming battle.
Thanks to Kate, I have a sock monkey in hand. Last time I checked my office, there was not a honey badger in sight, so I will be taking my sock monkey with me for all the HDIL-2 treatments. The monkey’s name is Robert Charles (R.C.) Killer. He’s a seasoned killer, so tortured by renal cells as a baby monkey that he’s developed a lethal hatred for them. A lifetime of bullying by renal cells has hardened him into a single-minded killer. Killing RCC is his only past-time. Uninhibited by hobbies, he has devoted his entire life to killing RC cells within my body.
Sock monkeys mate for life. The bonding begins as they’re packed for shipping to their new mate. As Kate boxed Killer to send him on his way, the brief stretch of darkness and the incessant jarring as the package made its way to me only served to make him a more lethal killing machine. There is nothing more deadly than a pissed off sock monkey!
When Killer arrived on my desk, I could feel the pent up energy that lay under that packing tape and cardboard. As I ripped the packing material, I had the sense that whatever was inside was doing its job to get out. I could feel the strength of the limbs and claws scratching their way out in order to release the creature into my arms.
Killer has been patiently waiting for me to utilize his particular brand of killing skills. He has perched on a piece of furniture in my office with a cocky look that says to visitors, “Yes, I know I look cute, but I can rip your face off in an instant and show no remorse! Go ahead, try me.” Honestly, I feel much more secure in my office just knowing that Killer is standing guard.
He was excited to know that I have a real mission for him that will utilize his considerable skills for something more than guarding a magazine publisher’s office. The typical visitor to my office is a fairly non-threatening person. They’re generally not scary, except for the occasional redheaded public relations person who comes by from time to time. Killer is beside himself with just the right amount of swagger and professional pride at the knowledge that he’s about to go up against his most dangerous opponent yet. Renal cell cancer is deadly, unpredictable and sneaky, but Killer has been trained for this day.
JIll, Killer and I are ready to go to Duke to hear Dr. George’s plan for our future in this next phase of our battle with kidney cancer. Some people will likely make fun of me for carrying Killer. They just better hope I don’t turn him loose on them.
What Killer, what did you say? “Kidney cancer is my bitch!” Well alrighty then. Let’s go to Duke!