Today was a big and stressful day. First of all, we had to drive in more bumper to bumper traffic on roads made for covered wagons, Model-T’s, and smart cars not Escalades. Michael has driven thousands of miles in such places, actually in LA itself, so as sick as he is and as limited as his mobility is, he was insistent he was driving today. Probably a good thing too because as he turned into the parking lot (more about that later) the power steering went out. Not exactly the start to our day we wanted or needed.
We got up to the main lobby and found out we were in the wrong building. Walking to the end of the block for a healthy person isn’t that big of a deal, but when you have stage 4 mantel cell lymphoma and you’ve spent the last three days traveling over a thousand miles, you’ve had to climb stairs, drive through traffic, and used all the energy you had left trying to turn a big ol’ machine, that block had to have been like walking five miles for Michael. But he didn’t complain. He took it one step at a time and we made it to the correct building and found the cancer center.
After a few hoops, you can’t go to a doctor’s office and not have to jump through a few hoops, we were finally in a room waiting to meet the doctor. Dr. Epner came in, introduced himself, and began asking many questions. He did the exam. He seemed quite confident he could help Michael out. I felt a rush of relief even as he began writing down all the medications and explaining the process of the treatment plan.
Michael has avoided common medical protocols. Today, that was a huge answer to all of our prayers. Because he had never undergone chemo, radiation, stem cell transplant, etc., he was eligible for this treatment plan. A plan that has been used successfully on 70 other mantle cell lymphoma patients and many other patients with other forms of lymphoma. His success rate is unbelievable. 97% percent of his patients are in remission. He told us there’s no cure for mantel cell lymphoma but he has patients who have been without any signs of disease for over ten years. In the cancer world, that’s as close to being cured as some of us will ever get. We will be forever grateful for ten years or more of NED! Michael agreed to begin treatment as soon as possible. The doctor took that to mean now, which we are even more thankful for.
We would make his appointment downstairs for an ultrasound on Thursday morning before I’d leave him at the cancer center to walk about three blocks to pickup his medication. I knew he didn’t need, nor have the energy, to walk those blocks with me. The pharmacy was kind and customer service was great. Great job CVS of Beverly Hills! I would have to wait for insurance to be verified and for prescriptions to be filled before heading back to the cancer center to pickup Michael.
We would discover the parking garage we parked in we couldn’t receive a discount for using since we parked in the wrong one. Oops! That was costly! Nearly $22 to park there for a couple of hours. Michael, once again, was determined to drive us back. Once again, that was probably the best choice since we drive back in rush hour traffic without power steering. I’m thankful God gave him the strength to do that too!
Tonight we rejoice! Michael has a plan in place that should bring him relief and more comfort than he’s had in several months. The doctor seems confident that the treatment plan will quickly calm his very angry lymphatic system, and he also talked as though Michael should be able to turn this monster of a disease around and be in remission in a few months. A few months! And again we rejoice!
We need some prayers for some specific things.
1. Thursday’s appointment will allow the doctor the ability to make Michael as comfortable as possible going into the weekend as he awaits his official start date for treatment.
2. Insurance quickly approves the treatment plan, including this very expensive drug Michael needs.
3. Michael responds quickly to the initial medications he will start Thursday to start calming the infection in his neck and face.
4. For someone’s schedule to open up so they can come out to California and replace me, so I can return to my responsibilities at home yet Michael still has the kind of care he needs here.
5. That we can find an affordable and nice place to stay after Friday for the duration of his treatment.
6. That a doctor in Amarillo or Dallas is willing to monitor Michael’s treatments after this initial first week, so he can continue this treatment in a more comfortable and affordable way as it will last approximately 6 months and then every 2-3 months after that for five plus years once he’s NED.
7. That the power steering issue is an easy and cheap fix.
8. For Michael’s strength to endure all that’s coming.
9. For safe travel.
10. For complete healing.
Today, I rejoice and again I will rejoice! God reminded me once again that it only takes a little bit of faith for Him to move mountains, so I will have a little more faith until Michael is in remission!