Thursday, August 13, 2009

Update from Daddy and Mommy

I promise that when we publish the book, we’ll fix all the atrocious spellings and grammatical errors!
Yesterday, the New Mexico trio headed back to Farmington/La Plata but not before showering Charlotte with gifts, taxiing us around all over the place, paying for lunch, and revealing that they (Uncle Notsohairy actually) had caps made in purple and pink with Charlotte’s name stitched into them. Pink stitching on the purple hats and visa versa.
Aunt B has agreed to shave her head for a cancer walk they are doing in September but only if I can get Charlotte there for the event. Hmmm…MAN! I really would love to see that. We’ll see.
After we made our goodbyes and they left for the airport, Charlotte and I spent most of the late afternoon in the room with me catching a cat nap here and there and CJ watching videos and waking me up every time one section ended to tell me plot highlights. She got her legs back after a while and we headed back downstairs. Southwest Airlines was serving dinner so it was smelling pretty good down there.
We also met up with a new family with 3 boys and a 9-year old girl (the patient) named Mikayla. Mikayla has become a new bff (dear God, I didn’t really say that, did I?). She and Charlotte seemed to really hit it off. Charlotte doesn’t seem to mind the attention Mikayla gives her and Mikayla really seems to like looking out for CJ. It gave me the chance to get dinner, play a little piano, read a little, stuff like that. The rest of the family seems great too. Dad and the three boys all have their heads shaved in support of Mikayla.
We had a very early (7:30) appointment with the eye doctor Wednesday (yesterday) morning so I had to get CJ into bed as early as possible. It was still well after 10pm.
I slept like doggie doo doo. Not getting enough sleep this week. I’ll try to do better.
So I got her up early and decided to try to dress her in the Dora and Diego scrubs Grandma Bonita made for her. I understand she wouldn’t wear them earlier so I didn’t have much hope. I accidentally happened on the way to get her to wear almost anything: threaten to leave her in her nightgown to go see the Drs. She’s developing such a sense of “style” and fashion that going out in jammies is a complete fauxpas! She left wearing the custom scrubs, surgical cap and all!
I hadn’t actually walked the two blocks to the main hospital since I’ve been back so I forgot that it only take 5-10 minutes to get there which means we arrived at around 7:15 for our 7:30am appointment. Then we waited. The hours on the door said the office didn’t even open until 7:30. Why book a 7:30 appointment when it’s obviously never going to happen at that time? The staff was a little late opening the office so I was a little growly when I went in. Not too bad, though.
We eventually went into the office around 8:05. The “techs” got so much more out of Charlotte this time than the Dr. got last time. We even got dilating drop into her eyes with a minimum of drama. Then when the Dr. actually did come in, my theory was proven correct. CJ remembered her and really wanted nothing to do with her. We ended up having to hold her and force her eyes open so they could look at the optic nerves. That was pretty traumatic. In hindsight, I can’t believe I even allowed it let alone participated in it. Remember, this is the same Dr that asked all the bad questions last time. This time she kept saying things like, “Just do this one thing and we’ll be done.” And then she would do more, making Charlotte realize the next time she heard that phrase that the Dr. was full of crap. I finally had to be a bit rude and tell her in no uncertain terms not to do that anymore. I tell you, she knows a ton about the eye but not much about kids. I told Nurse Rhe about it and she said she’d check into it. The end result is that they left eye still has some very slight swelling around the optic nerve which may just be leftover from everything so no one is too worried about it right now.
There just has to be a better way to do that sort of stuff.
Next on the printed schedule was supposed to be proton therapy at 12:30 with a follow-up visit back to Dr. Wolff at 1:30. Hopefully you can see this wasn’t going to happen. Treatments are about an hour long with 30-45 minute recovery times.
With that in mind, I went into the Children’s Center hoping to get squeezed in before we had to leave for proton. That place is always such a breath of fresh air. Both Rhe and Nurse Carmen came out to talk to her and oogle her scrubs. Charlotte LOVES Nurse Carmen and I guess they have a little ritual conversation/routine they do getting back to the room. Unfortunately, my showing up early put Nurse Carmen at a disadvantage since before, CJ always got there after proton and they could talk about food. Carmen was quick on the uptake when I coughed out “NPO!” and she steered the small talk elsewhere.
Then Dr. Wolff came in and did a masterful job of filtering the crap (most of it mine). When he asked me what was new, what had happened lately, I started grousing about the eye doc and he quickly redirected my energy onto more constructive paths. “Ok, BESIDES the eye doctor, what has happened.” “OH! You actually want me to talk about Charlotte?!? I rarely have felt better about being scolded for being stupid. Especially as an adult. The decision was to start topotecan on Friday
I messed up the schedule yet another way because the blood draws/counts he would have used to decide what to do with the next type of chemo drugs would have been drawn by the proton center and since I hadn’t been there yet, there were no draws to study. Not to worry, we got blood drawn right there and then and we headed off to the proton center. We timed it just right and the MDAnderson shuttle was just starting to pull away when one of the volunteers (God bless ‘em!) ran out and placed her body down in front of the tires to stop the bus.
(OK, so I might be exaggerating just a little.)
The bus driver remembered CJ and I learned his name was Walter Johnson. He mentioned he shared a name with the old-time baseball player. Being more ignorant about baseball than I care to admit, I had no idea who he meant so, in perfect form, I googled him and when the bio came up, I felt even worse about my ignorance. Walter Johnson was arguably the best major league pitcher in history! 115 shutouts! Over 3,000 strikeouts!! Over 400 wins!!! Good name, I told Walter Johnson the shuttle bus driver.
We got to the proton center perfectly on time. I just walked right in, they got vitals real quick, and into the gantry we went. She was really tired already so no Frosty this time.
The other not so good thing was that when she was done recovering, I called The House to make sure the shuttle would stop to pick us up. They said the next shuttle leave at 2:30 and would be there to get us. Just to make sure I called about 2:30 to confirm and they said, yes, you’re on the list. We’ll about 3:30 I called and they had somehow forgotten me. Grumblegrumblegrumble. So they called a cab for me and I took a $4.00 ride. Not too bad. I got over my ruffled feathers pretty quickly.
The rest of the night was pretty standard…CJ read books in the room while I dozed here and there. We went back down and Mikayla was there. FREEDOM! Even if to eat in a smidgen of peace. CJ got her appetite back and devoured a bunch of animal crackers, two cups of Mandarin oranges (one of which had her accutane in it), and three slices of turkey coldcuts.
Then up for Madagascar 2, books, and bed.
So that’s where we are. Tomorrow’s proton appointment is blissfully scheduled for 10:30am!

Take care,


Well, I'm not exactly sure how things are out in TX but I know that I have had a GREAT day.

It started early with an 8 AM appointment with Dr. Bitsko but we had to do some flexing with the schedule so that I could see him before I left again for Texas. I'd been having kind of a rough time emotionally since some of Charlotte's recent medical developments and I think coming home (and being by myself to ruminate over it) just makes things worse. Anyway, we had a good talk and he helped me get some perspective on things. Always very helpful and encouraging.

From there, I went to Divas for my SPA DAY! Thanks to the many people who helped make this possible, including Jackie, Meredith, Walter, Sherry, my parents, Becky, Tracy...who did I forget? Anyway, they got me a full day experience at Divas and I had a manicure, pedicure, facial, hydrotherapy treatment, lunch, and a one-hour massage. It was so relaxing and very nice to do something that was just for me.

I did actually go in to work for a bit (Thanks Annette for covering a few extra hours) and then met up with some old work friends for drinks and dinner.

So overall, I really couldn't ask for a better day. I really have work to get done that must get accomplished before I leave again on Saturday but I guess I will get there eventually. Big day at work tomorrow and then I'm on the 24 hour countdown again. Time is flying by and I guess that's a good thing.

So Roger is calling me so I must go talk to my family.


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