Friday, September 18, 2009

09-18-2009 Home From Houston

Hello to all. Dicky here for both of us. Thanks to Abby and her quick fingers for posting a quick shout-out yesterday as we were leaving M. D. Anderson in the heat of Houston rush-hour traffic. She and her mother worked out the basics on the cell phones and Abby filled in the gaps.

We made it safely back to Ruston in the 9:30 p.m. range and crashed hard.

This blog post contains the promised details from Abby’s overview yesterday. As I peruse the disparate list of those who wish to be reminded of a blog posting, I feel I should issue TWO reports for the two distinct types of folks on the list. After you read the first one and feel no need to read further you’ll know which group you are in. If you read further for more details, then, well, there you have it. We appreciate both types!

REPORT #1--the short version [think Reader’s Digest]:
· We saw Dr. Yao [on Thursday], who affirmed that Kim’s situation is “Stable, zero growth, good to continue in the clinical trial.” [You Report #1 readers will appreciate that he was in the examination room for maybe 4 minutes! He and we both talked very fast.]
· Kim received the first clinical trial injection of either the Lanreotide [the drug they are testing] or a placebo. This came after a 4 hour wait—we were scheduled to get the shot at noon and got it at 3:20 or so. Paperwork snafu.
· We drove back to Ruston.
· Fast.

Thanks for riding along with us!

REPORT #2--for you detail lovers [think War & Peace]:
· We got into an examination room to meet with Dr. Yao in world record time: we were in the room by 10:10 for a 10:00 a.m. appointment. Neither our girls nor we could believe it. I was texting them along the way.
· We met there with Michiko Iwasaki, Dr. Yao’s research assistant, for almost an hour. In that hour we covered more of the details of the clinical trial, as Michiko explained the reporting method that Kim is to use for all that goes on with her physically from day to day. Kim also filled out a questionnaire from the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC], who evidently originated and/or oversees this trial. Michiko and Dr. Yao’s Physician’s Assistant did a basic physical exam of Kim as well as the ever-present taking of the vitals.
· Dr. Yao showed at 11:14 for about 4 minutes and answered our rapid-fire questions, assuring us that Kim was “stable, zero growth, and ready to proceed with the trial.” In there somewhere he explained [in answer to one of the questions] that the reason for the Ultrasound this week was to get a baseline mainly for the gall bladder—the drug in the trial has a tendency to increase the risk of gall stones, so they will check Kim regularly.
· At 11:30 we moved downstairs to an Ambulatory Treatment Center [ATC] Bed Unit for Kim to get her first clinical trial shot. It is the place the out-patient chemo patients come for their treatments. We waited a cool 2 hours and 40 minutes there because of flawed paperwork—no Yao signature, then a truncated date that read “09-17-20” instead of “09-17-09”. Don’t you just love computers?
· Along the way the lady arrived to take Kim’s blood, so we moved to a room where that could be done, while still waiting for that much-needed doctor’s signature and the corrected date. Michiko was a tireless worker and continued to help move things along. With no cell coverage in the ATC unit [a rarity for MDA which is WiFi campus-wide] we had to step out and find a signal to call Michiko, as well as to update the girls. Frustration did have a tendency to set in [he said in a very vague passively-worded sentence].
· We finally got in the day-clinic room at 2:20 to await the shot. As I was drifting off to sleep in the recliner there, a fellow showed up from the “Place of Wellness” in the MDA complex—a massage therapist on staff—who was circulating through the rooms of chemo patients and offering free foot massages [thus Abby’s reference yesterday to the foot-massage]. He worked on Kim’s feet while I drifted off to some soap opera on the TV.
· The injection arrived at 3:30 and because of the nature of the trial [and I guess the Europeans who started it] the nurse’s protocol seemed like she was establishing the correct codes for a nuclear launch. The shot came gently and without incident and we were dismissed. We flew out the door, back to our car, and waded through Houston traffic back to Ruston.

There you have the Tolstoy version. Thank you, you detail peeps, for caring about the small stuff. Your care for us is NOT small stuff to us.

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