Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's Up With the Doc 19? - or Something's Working


I know I promised to recap New Mexico and THEN come back with scan results, but we got in at 1:30 am Monday and I've been working and exhausted. It's worth the wait, though. Today's CT scan report shows that the measurable lesion in the liver is down to 3.2 cm (from 5.4 on 3/13, 4.5 cm on 5/13 and 3.8 cm on 6/1) and the lesion in my lung (presumed primary) no longer has any solid component. Everything else is unchanged from prior scans. At this point it would definitely appear that I am ahead of cancer on the scoreboard so we'll keep trying to knock it silly with the current chemo regimen. No new or worse side effects and I've gotten so used to the bald look that I no longer scare myself every time I pass a mirror. That means chemo on 7/22 and 8/12 with another scan on 8/26.

As for New Mexico, I can't ever remember taking a better trip in my entire life. We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and went directly to Faith and Bruce's house. This was the first time I'd seen them since the diagnosis in March, so very big hugs were had all around. Once Emma got off work we went out to dinner at Monroe's, where I indulged in flat blue corn red chile enchiladas with a fried egg, a chile relleno with green chile sauce and a sopaipilla. I also stole some of Emma's flan for dessert. Robert ordered a margarita, not realizing that they only had a beer and wine license and so it was a wine margarita. Suffice it to say that we never heard the end of that insult! My stepbrother Bill, who timed a business trip to be able to spend some time with me, joined us for dinner.

We stayed in a beautiful bed and breakfast down the street from Faith's house where the grounds and architecture were classic NM adobe hacienda and the breakfasts were delicious. Bill and his brother Greer joined us there Wednesday night after a sucky Tuesday night in a Red Roof Inn.

Wednesday we went to see the clinic where Emma is working this summer and met the scary vet who is mentoring her. Well, scary to Emma. Not so much to me. I had my green chile cheese Lotaburger fix with my friend Earl, with whom I share 36 years of friendship, history, and things I'll never tell my mother. We sat and caught up for an hour and a half. Then I visited briefly with the woman who was my office nurse when I was in practice in New Mexico, lo these many years ago. Lindsay and Emma were just babies then so we caught up on everything that has happened in the last 20 years for both of us. Next was a stop at the New Mexico Cancer Center to see my friend Clark Haskins and get my counts checked. Counts were good, Clark was wonderful and gave us the nickel tour. Dinner that night was on Bill and Greer at Antiquity in Old Town. It was absolutely delicious, but more important than that, gave Faith and I time and opportunity to reconnect with them - life and grown up responsibilities have pushed our childhood memories and closeness into the background.

Thursday the golfers played golf and I had lunch with my friend Gayle who drove down from Farmington. She and Cindy colluded to make me the most beautiful quilt - evocative of the Southwest and perfect for the chemo chair. We shared gossip about old friends and colleagues, talked about work, and shared hugs and a few tears. Lunch was at Sadie's where I once again fed my flat blue corn red chile enchilada jones and had sopaipillas for dessert.

Later in the afternoon Mom drove in from AZ and Chris and Sheri drove down from CO. They were staying at a bed and breakfast that had a huge courtyard and patio so they went to El Modelo to pick up dinner to eat on the patio. They brought the best tamales on Earth, enchiladas, sopaipillas as big as dinner plates, but best of all a completely new thing to me - chile relleno burritos. MMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Friday Emma took the day off and we took it easy. She and Sheri and I hit Lotaburger for lunch. Dinner was at Maria's New Mexican kitchen in Santa Fe. They were reported to have the best enchiladas and margaritas in the state and I have to concur. I have never tasted red chile to compare and the margaritas were great. They also had the best flan I've tasted since the last time my mother made. My friend Claudia (the only friend I've had for longer than Earl) drove down from Los Alamos to meet us and had a ball catching up with my mother and Chris. We trekked up to see Falstaff at the Santa Fe Opera. It was really cold, but lots of fun. Robert and I followed Claudia up to her place in Los Alamos and everyone else headed back to Albuquerque.

Saturday Earl and his wife, Pamela, drove up. Pamela has the distinction of accompanying me on a wild and wacky road trip from TX to NY in 1982. We were in my '72 VW bug that had no starter and had my little dog, Sleazy, along for the ride. Enough said. We spent the day on the deck, gazing at the mountains and talking about kids, parents, love, cancer and these amazing longterm friendships that can pick up in a heartbeat without a moment of hesitation or ill ease.

Sunday Claudia drove me back down to Albuquerque for brunch at Garduno's, after which we left for the airport and home. I'm always sorry to leave New Mexico (definitely my heart's home) but it was orders of magnitude worse this time. I couldn't have asked for a more delightful few days of family, friends, gorgeous scenery and skies and FOOD.

So, really, the news all around couldn't be any better. Staying the course is the plan of the moment. Next on the travel agenda is Alaska after the kids start school again.

Thank you for all the good thoughts, prayers, and crossed fingers, toes, arms, legs and eyes. Keep up the good work!


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