I like to think I used to be a pretty smart kid, growing up and going off to Virginia Tech. However, I was hopelessly ignorant about who was paying my tuition and didn’t bother asking about it. Being a teenager, I naturally thought tuition payments grew on trees. It took my mother’s divorce from my step-father to make me realize that after my sophomore year, I was out of funds. So I started to take responsibility for my financial situation, took a year off from college while staying in Blacksburg, VA so I could research what it took to apply for financial aid. Meanwhile, I’d need a steady source of income to be able to live.
Luckily my buddy Ken had a lead on a short-order cook position at a local restaurant where he worked part-time, which sounded interesting. I like to cook, my maternal grandmother would let my brother and I make sugar cookies when I was in first grade so I’ve been comfortable around a kitchen from a young age. So I started working at Bogen’s (“Casual with Class” was its motto) and in the 3 years of my stint there, slinging waffle fries, I struck up friendships that I’ve maintained to this day.
Four of my friends from these days visited me this past weekend, and it was a wonderful experience… until Saturday night, when the weather suddenly went frigid, and I caught hold of a fever that has lingered for 3 days now (hopefully I’ll be better tomorrow). It’s a stark reminder to me that my health is compromised, and after a few months’ worth of chemo, I don’t bounce back like I used to. I went in for another scheduled round of chemo today and they had to turn me away because of the fever. Better luck next week, I guess.
Wait a minute, why am I still on chemo, you might be asking. My oncologist and I are working on a long-term plan where I get low doses of chemo on a fairly regular basis while we set up another radio embolization round, sometime probably in June. My hospital has started a new clinic for this, so I don’t have to constantly travel to Durham for this procedure now. Of course my wife has to do most of the driving for those, because I’m usually pretty whacked out after the procedure that I can’t drive myself home anyhow, so this is mostly for her benefit; but having the Interventional Radiotherapy (IR) clinic literally in the same place as my oncologist is as convenient as it can get. So, there won’t be the same issue as I encountered last year: as you might recall my case was delayed because of miscommunications and delays with getting the proper approvals and all that time off of chemo (I had to be chemo-free so the doctors could perform the radioembolization) allowed the tumors to grow back a bit, which was quite discouraging. This time, I’ll be on chemo until I’m absolutely ready for the second round of radioactive beads, which will be confirmed with a quick walk across a corridor, instead of having to start an email thread or set an appointment with Big Duke. We’re not taking our foot off the gas this year.