Because of the precarious condition of my back, I declined a generous offer to fill a spot yesterday in one of the rafts that navigated the newly-created whitewater course on the Chattahoochee. Jill made the trip and I stood on the sidelines and watched. I knew that I had made the right decision at exactly the instant I saw her leave the rubber rail of the raft and sail up and into the boiling cauldron that is the hole named “Cut Bait.”
After a few anxious moments I saw her head pop up and I knew someone would scoop her up and bring her safely back to me. Jill and Oprah Winfrey have something in common. Neither of them particularly likes to get their hair wet. Oprah would have been proud. Jill came out of the Hooch looking like a drowned rat and she will have stories to tell for the rest of her life about the day she ran the Chattahoochee at 9,000 cubic feet per second. Folks, that is some big ass water!
We pull out in the morning to begin the eight-hour drive to Durham, NC to begin the next chapter of my journey with cancer. My itinerary includes meetings with medical oncologist, Dr. Dan George and Dr. Michael Morse, who runs Duke’s high-dose interleukin-2 program. I’m fortunate that they’re going to be able to use all the recent scans from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. To supplement those scans, I’ll have some lab work and pulmonary function testing (stress echo) to determine my ability to withstand the difficult HD-IL2 treatment regimen.
The first doctor visit is on Monday and the stress test and the visit with Dr. Morse are scheduled for Tuesday. We should be able to hit the road to come back home on Wednesday morning. If HD-IL2 will work for me, we’ll turn back around and head back up there to begin the treatment on either Labor Day or the day after. After seven days in intensive care, we’ll make the difficult trek back home for two weeks for me to try to bounce back from the therapy. Then we’ll do it all again. That is one round. Depending on how I fare and how I respond, I’ll have to do multiple rounds of this nasty therapy. Four rounds could take up to a year from start to finish. But, this is the only therapy that can offer me a cure. And, only in a very small percentage of cases.
Jill and I appreciate the continued good wishes and all the love we’ve received from our family, our friends and this remarkable community. If you add all the readers of this blog around the world, we aren’t tackling this difficult therapy alone. There is a veritable army that will go with us. I am going to attempt to blog my way through this entire treatment. With the very strong likelihood that there will some portion of the next few weeks when I’ll be physically or mentally unable to write. Because I want to capture all of this to be able to leave more breadcrumbs for those behind me to follow, I’ll ask Jill to either video some things or to type for me. Regardless of what happens, this is going to be a difficult, but interesting time in our lives.
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