The Dream Team September 18, 2014

Friends and Family,

Genevieve and I flew down to San Diego this morning in advance of my lung biopsy, which will be tomorrow morning at 10:30. Due to time and distance they didn't schedule me for the usual pre-op consultation to explain what would happen.

First I should tell you that a year ago Genevieve and I planned a trip to Hawaii, which would have started today. I asked my new oncologist about delaying the start but still going, since there's nothing to do while we wait for the biopsy results. He didn't like the idea, since I wouldn't be close by if I get the green light. But what difference does that make? If I get in the study I could fly back from Hawaii just the same as I could fly back from Portland. So what would you do???"

We're going to Hawaii on Tuesday.

I called the oncology Nurse Coordinator to try to reach the doctor doing the biopsy, since I knew nothing about the procedure and I was losing sleep over it. I wanted to know how long before surgery should I stop aspirin, since it's a blood thinner. I also needed to know how long after the biopsy it was safe to fly, since I don't want a pressurized airplane to cause a collapsed lung. This is another reminder of how important it is to be your own advocate.

I was curious how they could do a "CT-assisted biopsy," since I've been in that CT tunnel at least 35 times now, and there's not enough room in there for me and the doctor both. We should have met long before this if we were going to be that intimate.

It turns out that they scan me, then insert a needle into my lung, usually through the chest but sometimes through the back. They then scan me again and see how close they are to the tumor. They go back and forth, scanning and adjusting, until they get their biopsy.

I'll be under conscious sedation and feeling no pain. The real danger here is that I'm told that you lose your inhibitions, but have no memory of it afterwards. The staff think this is sometimes hilarious. I'm just hoping that Genevieve isn't in the room, and that there are no hot nurses assisting. Genevieve thinks this comment is sexist, but hey, I'm a guy.

There are still two big forks in the road. The first is to see if I have the T790 mutation, which I will come back to.

The second is which tumor they biopsy, the big one or the little one. If it's the little one, no problem. If it's the big one, and I have T790, they will delay treatment for 24 days so that the tumor has time to "heal" for research purposes. Those will be nerve-racking days, since the cancer will be growing during that time.

If I have the T790 mutation, I'm in the study. If I don't, that's the end of it. I need to find a different treatment option.

This makes now a very good time to visualize:

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< T790 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Speaking of visualizing T790, I have to tell you about our fantastic neighbors! Thursday night we got back from San Diego around midnight, tired and tense from all the treatment/no treatment stress. Friday morning when I went into the kitchen, I looked out the window and saw a giant sign that said, "DANN... T790.... Love Violet and Steve" in their windows!

After seeing that sign, I had tears streaming down my cheeks! With THAT kind of support, how can you NOT believe that everything is going to work out? You talk about team work? THAT is MY kind of team!

Such wonderful support has come from so many of you. It comes in your words, your emails, your blog comments, and your thoughts and prayers. It makes much more difference than you can imagine!

We all think we are so much more alone in this world than we really are. It's just that it usually takes a pretty big nudge for most of us to let each other know. There's much more "Team" around all of us than we know, until a great big opportunity pops up.

So do yourself and someone you love a favor. Create your own great big opportunity. Show them in some way that you love them, especially when they aren't expecting it. That's when it will hit home the most. You'll feel it too. I guarantee it.

That's what I call living the dream.