The glass doors swoosh and blow a little air into my face as I leave the underground parking lot and enter the hospital headed for the elevators. I always push the “up” button with the middle joint of my middle finger. Have you ever thought of how many germs have accumulated on those elevator buttons? ! I am much more cautious about such things now.
No matter how many times I have entered these doors, rode this elevator, headed for floor number 2, clinic B. I always think back of my first visit. It has been 33 months. Almost three years. This place used to be my battle zone. Today I just want to put all of that behind me. Today I see if I have won the war.
The elevator doors open and I leave my dark memories behind. I step into the beautiful lobby and almost feel at home as I enter the clinic. I know many of the nurses and employees by name and even more by face. I haven’t been here for six months; I used to spend so much of my life here in the beginning.
These people know what I have been through. They understood the fear in my eyes and the crack in my voice when I began treatment. They have seen me at my worst. Holding my hand and reminding me to breathe while I brace myself for the bone marrow biopsy. Drawing countless vials of blood and asking about how my family is doing; What I did for summer vacation. They remind me that I can do this. Hopefully they will see me at my best.
Maybe that is why I wore a dress to my appointment today. Last Thursday I went through the usual tests. (see test results on side bar) Not that there is anything usual or common about them. Today Dr. Tricot head of research and expert oncologist of multiple myeloma (Not melanoma) will go over test results and discuss with me the “Plan.” (This is where Alex Trebek comes in with the music from Jeopardy. Hum a long if you would like. Da da Da da. da da da.)
And this is what he said in his Belgium accent................."Things look perfect and you cannot get better than perfect.” Which interpreted into Western English means. I am done with treatment! My numbers are doing what they are supposed to. And to further explain he added....."You can't get better than zero!"
I am DONE with treatment
One year of not-one-but-two stem cell transplants. High dose Chemotherapy and recovery.
ONE year of Velcade (more chemo) Thalidomide, Revlimid (ugly friends that help "the velcade go down" and do it's dirty work.
ONE year of the nasty but effective steroid that helped me gain 20 lbs, chubby cheeks, and ADD. (Attention Deficit Disorder.)
So after 33 months of very aggressive treatment I am looking forward to a very, very long remission and hopeful cure. My beloved Belgium doctor thinks that I have a good shot at it. I'm taking his word for it.
Stay tuned: What happens now?
And now for a little help from my friends. How does one celebrate such an occasion? Any suggestions from a double scoop of chocolate mint ice cream in a waffle cone to an exotic cruise on a limited budget will be considered.