After our last trip to Houston, we were dreading going back. We cried as we left Indianapolis, feeling like we were leaving summer camp and heading back to the hot halls of middle school. We had decided the city of Houston was a horrible place. The weather was a thick haze of humidity, the people were rude and no wonder Dwight Howard is moving there… he is just as bad as the city he’ll call home.
We hated Houston.
But round two in Houston has given us a second opinion and the truth is, it all comes down to getting some good news!
Before the appointment, we made a wish on a little Japanese figure my brother brought us back from Tokyo. It had been blessed and holds some special powers. You draw in one eye and then fill in the other when the wish comes true. We think this little guy helped us get some good news.
The doctor we despised seemed a little softer as she read us Joe’s cat scan results. She told us she was very happy with his progress and the tumors have stayed stable – no growth. Joe’s cancer numbers went down from an 11 to a 5! This is a big deal! (This number is referred to as CEA. It is a number that is gathered from his blood. A tumor marker). The chemo is working. We believe this means the cancer has been cut in half, and we high fived right there in the office. As we skipped out into the hall, we talked about how friendly our once evil doctor seemed, and that we really didn’t mind her anymore. Funny how a little good news can change your perception.
The doctor wants to see 4 more rounds of chemotherapy over the next two months. Then we will head back to Houston to see how it’s working.
We met with a very handsome surgeon with a southern drawl. He wore a college ring the size of a Super Bowl piece and had some killer, leather cowboy boots.
The Cowboy Doctor was rough and tough. He had all the answers about a surgery that only few doctors can do across the country. He told us the surgery Joe had two years ago would be a “chip shot” compared to the surgery he could have in store. Now I don’t golf, but apparently chipping is easy when looking at the long shot.
We liked this surgeon because he was a straight shooter. He told us they won’t do the surgery unless they are sure it will improve Joe’s life. They are looking very closely at how his body is responding to chemo to make sure they can kill the cancer first.
The surgeon told us sometimes this surgery can last up to 18 hours, and it’s very invasive. It sounds disgusting. I tried to keep a straight face as he described a giant incision and digging around inside a body. It also sounds promising. There’s a chance they could get in there and cut out all of the little bitty cancer bits floating around inside his abdomen.
The doctors like that Joe is young and strong because they think he can handle the surgery. Doctor Cowboy told us they turn older patients away because it’s too much for them to handle and recover from.
The doctors started talking about a timeline. 2 more months of chemo. If all looks good after that, we might start talking about when to have surgery. The surgery’s recovery is tough, and they’d want us to stay in Houston for 30 days to heal.
Now, if you aren’t doing the math, this could be problematic. That could keep us in Houston until mid December. Sounds great! The weather will be cooler, Christmas will be on the horizon, and oh yea…..we HAVE A BABY DUE DECEMBER 24TH!!!
I mentioned this to Doc Cowboy, and he told me there are lots of good doctors in Houston too.
The whole thing makes me laugh. Nothing is set in stone, but we have no choice but to prepare our blueberry for Texas. Just in case our little nugget wants to make an early debut, we need to find a nice baby doctor in Houston, and have a back-up plan. We also may have to drive. Otherwise, we could be purchasing an entire row of seats on the airplane. Joe needs as much space as possible to deliver this baby. (Insert laughs again here).
I figure people have babies on the side of the road and seem to figure it out; so we’ll make it work.
A day at a time! Though my worried head sometimes gets the best of me.
The overall feeling from our 2nd trip to Houston is…maybe the city isn’t so bad. Maybe we’ll even have our baby there. The chemo is working. Joe’s cancer numbers have been cut in half! That, my friends, is WONDERFUL news. If he can keep making strides like this, then I’m sure blueberry and I can adapt to the lone star state. 🙂