That was a waste of time. (Actually, no. It was a very pleasant trip with my dad.)
First, I was told by the appointment scheduler to arrive at the clinic at 6:30 a.m. for blood work. I bust my ass in the freezing cold to get there on time after a sleepless, anxious night. The security guard in the lobby is of no help, so I wander around before finding the clinic. The lobby is totally empty-no employees or anyone. I pace about for 25 minutes until I find someone to help me figure out what the heck I am supposed to be doing. Since I am a new patient, I have to go through registration. The registration office doesn't open until 7 a.m. Swell. So I totally had to skip out on the hotel's free breakfast (which according to my dad was pretty good) to wander aimlessly around an overheated building for a half an hour. In fact, the phlebotomy lab didn't start taking people for blood work until 7:30.
After the morning mess, things ran much more smoothly. I was seen (On time!) by one doctor who chatted with me about my medical history and did a brief examination. Then I waited for over an hour for the next doctor to come and speak with me about the clinical trials they were running.
Turns out he was Dr. Doom and Gloom. Right off the bat he tells me they don't have anything for me treatment wise. Apparently, the main excluding factor is the number of chemo treatments I've already had. It's just too many. Okay, I'm thinking, all this information was in my charts that got faxed over the the hospital days before. So I drag my butt up to Baltimore just for the docs to tell me something that could have been conveyed over the phone. Why did they need me there warming a chair to tell me this? Ugh. Frustrating.
Dr. Doom and Gloom doesn't stop there. He continues on his litany of downers by telling me that at this point I have two options: let the disease run its course and take me to the sweet by and by or roll the dice on some other experimental treatment elsewhere that may or may not work or could very well kill me. The doc seemed to be leaning towards the "Lay down and die" option because he felt there really wasn't anything more medicine had to offer based on the fact that the leukemia has been mostly unresponsive to previous treatments.
Sweet baby Moses. I haul up to Baltimore to hear bad news I could have gotten over the phone at home, then I get the All Is Lost Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here speech to boot? Thanks a frakking lot people.
However, Doc D&G did suggest that if I wanted to look into the possibility of other treatment options I check out a hospital down in Houston with a pretty robust cancer program. That's what I am leaning towards right now with the support of my family. If the folks in Houston have another option, then it would mean uprooting to Texas for at least a few months.
I am certainly not ready to lay down and die quite yet. I'm not sure that the doctor understood the affect my child has on me in all of this. I don't want him to grow up thinking that his mommy didn't fight to stay alive with everything she had.
I've always said that I would be in this until the bitter end, until the doctors told me the arsenal had been stripped clean of weapons. But to actually hear that from a doctor is like getting smacked in the lips by a cast iron frying pan.
My mind has been processing all of this. I have no idea how much time I have left before the disease takes me. I don't know how much time God's given me. But I can tell you this: that time will be spend having fun, loving life, and continuing to take up the banner against my stupid zombie leukemia. Who's with me?