Rich has been heading to Nashville and the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center since June 1. I went on that first trip for the several days it took to biopsy and verify his dosages would not cause him to sprout a second head. After that, his trips were just for a day at a time every three weeks and he's gone alone. I had started to notice his mood change over the course of those three week cycles, though. Much like chemo treatments have a cyclical effect on the patient, Rich would get better immediately after a check up but as the next visit loomed closer, he would get more and more sour. The night before his flight he could be almost unbearable as his worry caused him to be a Great Big Weirdo.
After Rich's last appointment, I decided he needed a buddy to go along. Specifically, he needed the Chancellor of Optimism at his side for the day.
Today was our day. But the story starts last night. I was trying to get Ian's lunch packed and Ian was going potty and all of a sudden Rich was super worried about his appointment. I was then dealing with "healthy snacks" and coaching Ian through folding toilet paper and the countdown to bedtime and my husband looking at me with panic in his eyes because the CT scan is not at the office it normally is.
Those of you who are lucky enough to never have been plagued with anxiety may not be familiar with how it gets in you and won't let go. It's like drowning while having the flu. The stomach knots combined with the tight chest and the feeling of isolation from being underwater. There may be people in boats around you telling you that it's not a big deal. They will try to yell to you as you sink under the water that all you have to do is X and everything will be fine or that the water is not that bad. And you look at their shapes up above and squint as if what they said is so crazy you gave to try to refocus your eyes to make sense of it.
I know anxiety. But Rich is normally that guy in the boat yelling down at me through the water. This slime has been a real role reversal for us, one neither of us is very comfortable with.
I sent Rich upstairs to put Ian to bed. Then I sat down and mapped the imaging center's address with detailed directions. I rented us a car for $30 so we wouldn't have to navigate cabs across the various locations. I packed Ian's lunch. And honestly, I went to bed a little irritated, though not necessarily at Rich, just at everything. Some day off. Hmph.
Rich slept horribly and woke up right where we left off. He worried about Ian getting to school on time. He worried about us getting to the airport. He worried if our car would fit in the garage with the car top carrier still on it. We were off to a rough start. I walked to the security gate blinking back tears, mostly because there wasn't time for crying quite yet.
But we made it to Tennessee. He got his CT scan and we got to his appointment. It was fine that we were late because they were all running behind from the holiday weekend.
We talked with Dr. Bendell and she was very reassuring. Rich's scan continues to show no growth or fluid. This is good because we had seen some growth between November and April. The clinical trial is going so well that they're adding many more patients, going from eight to 70 nationwide. They also are comfortable raising his dosage from 40mg daily to 80mg daily. We are hopeful this will provide some shrinkage versus just lack of growth.
We talked about how he will most likely be a patient of Dr. Bendell's for a long time. We will continue to play things by ear when it comes to growing our family versus shrinking Rich's slime. But it's good to know even taking a hiatus does not kick us out of the Sarah Cannon family.
After all that, I got my husband back. He came up out of the water. Maybe not completely in the boat but at least above water. He's lounging on me while we wait for our plane home, teasing me over the noise of my typing so close to his head.
I am glad I came today. I'm glad I could help him tread water through a rough day. And I'm looking forward to going home with him.