And so it begins some more

November 15, 2007 by barbara

barbara writes

So, we’re off to see the wizards . . . the wonderful wizards of Mayo, or so we hope. Hope. The four-letter word that’s getting a real workout around here lately.

It’s a surreal experience, this cancer thing. For starters, David feels good almost all the time. He’s not wasting away before my eyes. All of which makes it hard to fully grasp the enormity of the esophageal cancer lurking in his body.

We have only had a distant glimpse of the mighty machine that is Mayo Clinic. I say “machine” because, so far, we have yet to deal with its medical people face to face. That comes tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow, definitely creeping in this petty pace from day to day. More

Meanwhile, we’ve gathered up a hope-load of medical info from all of David’s providers to date. He has filled out so many forms that his fingers are smudgy with black ink. I am the hunter/gatherer relative to required information. Also a total Google-head in search of wisdom about David’s cancer. Every so often, I hit the wall, realizing I have absorbed all I can manage. But before too long, I find myself wanting to go another mile or two. David has what is probably a more sensible approach to all of this. He sees no point in dreaming up scenarios when we don’t really know the whole scoop. So I go cold-turkey on the Googling deal, but like any backslider, I Google-sneak more information. Just one more piece, one more time. I can handle it. (((sigh)))

Cancer. Cancer, cancer, cancer. There. I said it. Early on, it was easier to talk about David’s “condition” or “situation.” Actually, it still is. But the fact of the matter is that it’s cancer. It’s fairly advanced. It’s scary as hell. And we need to figure out (guided by Mayo’s expertise) how to root it out.

We both have a kind of morbid curiosity, David and I, about what comes next. We’re eager to begin whatever “it” is. Even knowing there will be minimal joy in treatment, it is what it is (thanks, Charlene!), and we’ll deal with it. Did I say that “it” is cancer? We’re curious to know how Mayo looks and feels to an “insider.” Something no one ever really wants to know, but here we are.

I’ll close for today with an approximation of the way Max Schulman started one of his wonderful books. “Bang, bang, bang, bang. Four shots ripped into my groin and I was off on the greatest adventure of my life!” Schulman went on to say that all of that had absolutely nothing to do with his life or the book. He just had a yen to start a novel that way. And so he did.

Bang, bang, bang, bang.

Posted in


Anonymous (not verified) | November 15, 2007 - 11:34am

You are in a good place. Wonderful medicine.

Pray also to the Lord Jesus Christ, your Savior.

God Be With You


susan | November 16, 2007 - 1:47am

Hey, the wizard got everyone what they wanted, right? Heart, brain and courage. You already have far more of those than most of us, so carry on dear one, and may the wizard send you safely home.

And also, thank you for your gutsy, honest writing. You're amazing.


Anonymous (not verified) | November 16, 2007 - 9:49pm

I' m a Mom and now a Grandmother, but this is what I want to say: I've always been so proud of our kids when there's a question of bad news, and they face it straight on, whether it's they or their kids. It is the stuff of modern day heroism, especially now when we keep learning that heroism is about guns and/or violence, bad guys and easily identified enemies.
Heroism, Courage is/are about everyday Monday through Friday stuff. It's about finding out what could be and be willing to face that.
One of my favorite advice people, Carolyn Hax, says, about the possibility of a worst-possible outcome of medical/diagnostic tests (for her mom): fear was what preceded her news of test outcomes; what followed was relief. Hax's Mom said knowing the worst allowed her to start dealing with it, planning for it, prioritizing, which gave her what fear doesn't allow: peace.
You and your husband are facing the not-quite-knowable with great courage. It is the stuff of heroism. I stand in awe.


paul miller (not verified) | November 17, 2007 - 1:16pm

what I think is the greatest thing about Mayo is that the drs take time to listen - somewhere along the line Mayo determined that quality care takes more than a 15 minute appointment - there is a book called how drs think that has been helpful to me - it encourages questions as a means of helping drs to think, in the medical odyssey the best gift, in my opinion, is to feel like you have advocates that are with you on the journey,
best of luck


barbara says (not verified) | November 18, 2007 - 9:17pm

You are all immensely kind. Thank you.

We're home again, but only for a little while. Then back to Mayo for more good stuff. It's an absolutely awesome system. Will meet a couple more docs from David's team next time.

Neoadjuvant chemoradiation up next. I wish, I wish, I wish I could make this all go away for him. But (she said, cautiously optimistic), so far, the docs are talking cure. Not management of the cancer but cure. PET scan is the tie-breaker.

And so we wait a bit longer for definitive word(s). Stand by.


MLS (not verified) | November 19, 2007 - 7:33am

That's what it takes - Mayo's team work along with David and your courage and faith. You both remain in my thoughts every day.


Leftymn (not verified) | November 19, 2007 - 2:55pm

The words of the CSNY song are:

"The sky is clearing and the night has gone out.
The sun, he come, the world is all full of light.
Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but to carry on. "

You are carrying on with courage and have my admiration. I hope with all my might that the world for you and David will indeed be full of light. Give it(cancer) and them(the insurance companies) hell.



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