Dear Friends and Supporters and supportive friends and friendly supporters,
Paul and I have been very busy, over the past three days, preparing for the start of treatment on August 29. It seems as if all we do is drive back and forth between Watertown and Boston. I think we’ve had the chance to meet each of the parking valets at the Dana Farber.
On Monday, I was fitted for my radiation mask. The experience put me in mind of the pioneering facial treatments developed in Transylvania back in the 1800’s. Turns out that the three million dollar haircut I got four weeks ago was just the start of the many beauty treatments I’ll be receiving. After the facial, those wonderful folks gave me a bunch of CT scans; that’s so they’ll be able to set me up with ‘scalp tatoos’ to show them how to get the radiation to where it needs to be. I wonder when I get my pedicure?
On Tuesday, we headed into the Brigham and Women’s for my MRI. If you’ve had an MRI you know how much fun it is. It’s like someone opening a manhole cover, sticking you in, replacing the cover and then running a couple of thousand trucks over you. The noise is horrible. I played every mnemonic game I know. I counted, counted backwards, counted by fives and sixes and sevens (Mrs. Alexander, if you’re reading, I want you to know that I’m finally ready for your third grade test on the times tables.) As bad as the noise was, though, staying perfectly still was even worse. My beleaguered technician had to put up with my unending pleas, “Tell me, please, is it almost over? Almost? Soon? Tell me it will be soon!”. Even if that poor fellow doesn’t have kids, he’s got a pretty good idea now of what it’s like to travel with a carload of them. I plead guilty to the charge of acting like a seven year old.
After the ordeal, I insisted that he call my husband into the treatment room for emotional support. Paul, as always, was terrific! He’s constantly ready to supply an empathetic heart, an understanding mind and a reassuring word. If any of you are planning on getting a brain tumor soon you might want to inquire about his services.
While we were driving back home I realized that all I wanted to do was eat. Speaking of eating, I still haven’t gotten over that calzone my niece Laurie brought over a while ago. It was Thanksgiving in a sandwich! What did they call it, Laurie? The Pilgrim Special?? Please repeat for me the name of the place that makes it. And, just a suggestion, if you ever happen to be driving by there on your way for a visit….
That takes us up to this morning. We went up to the second floor of the Yawkey Building for labs and then met with my wonderful oncologist Dr. Lee, who gave me more information about treatment and helped me narrow the choice of a clinical trial down to two options. We’ll settle on one in the next few days. Hopefully, the trial will enhance the effectiveness of the chemotherapy treatment.
My blogging hasn’t been as frequent as I wish it were (or as frequent as you wish it were based on the complaints I’ve been receiving) but I’ve got two excellent excuses. First of all, we had a “technical issue” on Friday night. I’m not naming names, but it involved an enormous glass of cranberry juice, a very clutzy husband, and a soggy modem. The bottom line is that I’ve got blogs that are hopelessly lost in cyberspace. It would be sad if it weren’t so funny!
It’s at times like this when I really miss work. I love you guys! As you might expect, I’ve been collecting lots and lots of good ‘Captain Catholic’ stories (do any of you recall the story of the leaky pens and the five ruined shirts?) that I’m dying to tell you all.
The other reason for my blogging slow-down is that I haven’t really been getting a lot of downtime to do anything other than to get ready for this battle. Let me tell you, dear ones, this is a fight I don’t intend to lose. As they say, “I’m in it to win it!”
I might let myself get behind on my blogging, but I refuse to get behind on gratitude. My first ‘thank you’ goes to one of the finest research scientist I’m lucky enough to call a friend — she has been my best advisor for treatment issues, she’s been a wonderful mentor for my daughter and a great ally and co-worker to my friend Joan — Thank you Marsha Moses!
More gratitude goes out to all of those wonderful families whose philanthropy has made it possible to develop treatments for cancer. If it weren’t for all the people, rich and poor, who’ve sacrificed their resources to the never ending war against ignorance and suffering I’d be a goner. If I’m strong, it’s because of all the people who’ve given me their strength.
Just one more: I am grateful for your commitment to public education. Particularly to the education my daughter received in thirteen years with the Belmont School System — to the dedicated administrators, teachers and aids; to the supportive parents; to the voters who had the good sense to support necessary tax overrides; to the janitors ‘Little Bob’ and ‘Big Bob’ at the Butler School; to every single one of you crossing guards. Because of all of you we have the sure hope that our next generation will be a generation of curious minds, able to synthesize complex information to solve complex problems. What a marvelous investment education is! Everything you put in pays you back a thousandfold.
I’m grateful that I got outside this morning — enough to realize what a beautiful, beautiful day we’re having; and I’m looking forward to a beautiful weekend. Hope you all find ways to enjoy it. You deserve every good thing! I’ll never be able to say enough about all the love that you’ve showered on the entire Bradford family.
That’s it. I’m headed for my nap!
Love, Love, Love