Wake Forrest was such a unique trip. We would never have happened upon the destination, but while we flew over the Rockies, I thought about how different my life would be if I wasn't able to explore the opportunities that pop up in my life. The majority of my success, the ability to jump at cancer fighting treatments, or subsequent programs, lay within the hands of those whom I have loved so dearly, who have supported us emotionally - but above that, financially. I am blessed beyond measure. Dan and I have dedicated our lives to creating our own mini think tank, to include the best doctors for my care. We will fight this scary adversary with support from all angles, and now we're able to include Lindsey, my strategist who will help me understand the medical world, the research, the opportunities for treatments, and I also have the Take The Fight (TTF) resources of Andy, Dineth, Lawson, and so many others who are working toward their undergraduate degrees while literally changing the world of cancer care. It is thrilling!
As a basic recap, Danny and I flew to Winston Salem, North Carolina to meet with a group of students at Wake Forest University (overseen by David Warren who was out of town helping his father fight his glioblastoma). It was for a new program called Take The Fight which will subsequently spread across the country to other universities, and further expand around the globe. It pairs students, one-on-one with cancer fighters. The student uploads all of your medical records onto an online database which is easy to access and modify for those on the TTF team and yourself. You also receive a briefcase of hard copies of everything (even all of your MRIs). Both of these systems (the briefcase and online database) make it easy to continuously research and update your plan, whether it's nutritional choices, supplements, clinical trials, research of the disease or upcoming FDA approved treaments, or whatever you personally need to fight your best fight. Your strategist can also join you in appointments with your doctor which is amazing. While we were at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital meeting with Dr Glenn Lesser a neuro-oncologist, we had two take the fight strategists observing and taking notes. Later, the information from the appointment was uploaded onto my medical drive so that I could access it, and they researched a clinical trial that was mentioned and are following up on some upcoming research that was mentioned. It was amazing! Since I will be doing this program long-distance, my situation will be unique. I have plans to ask all doctors as an appointment begins if I can record the session (which I have secretly done in the past...oops...that might be illegal). Also, another option, if my strategist is available, perhaps I can have my computer ready with Skype so that she can be "present" at the appointment. There are lots of options, and I feel, already, that I am being supported, that I'm moving in the right direction. I feel more organized, and hopeful.
I will continue to research and adjust my strategy. I will work hard and utilize this opportunity, and I feel really fortunate to have a teammate, my new buddy, my partner in crime Lindsey to bounce things off of, and learn from her fabulous mind. I am so lucky to have my brilliant new friend to help me navigate the medical world more thoroughly. She is a stunning 4'11 package of sweetness and force with a gorgeous laugh and absolutely fabulous demeanor. She has her eyes on becoming a surgeon (she comes from a long line of various doctors), and just from spending time with her I can tell she would be just the type of person I would want working on my body. She is thoughtful, kind, precise - clearly brilliant. She is just the cutest little thing, with such an amazing mind, and drive. I feel lucky to know her, even outside the whole TTF thing, and I can't wait to be following up and cheering her on along the way!
Thank you for all of the financial support, to our home town of Friday Harbor, our late home of Wenatchee, our current home of Seattle, my old home in Fort Wort, both Dan's mother's and my parent's home of West Seattle, the readers of the blog, our friends in Canada, my family in Poland, our buddies in the Middle East, and everyone else whom I embarrassingly forgot. I just feel insanely fortunate. I'm not exaggerating, I think about how grateful I am every single day. Thank you for the donations. I am a lucky woman, to be supported by so many. Dan has said so many times that he doesn't care if we spend everything (easy to do), mortgage everything (we have nothing of value - we rent a place and use a beater vehicle), he does not care, we will exhaust every option, every avenue until we find a way for me to be healthy. The guy is amazing. I'm sure you guys get sick of me going on and on about him, but he really is the most astounding support as far as a husband goes.
Life is about chances, it's about circumstance. Then, after that, it's about what you make of it. I am enjoying life every single day. Sure, I get cranky. Then, I look at Dan, or call a friend (if Dan's not home) and find a way to laugh and get over myself. Life is just glorious. I probably sound crazy, because I know life can be dismal at times too, but Dan and I have dealt with lost jobs, having to sell vehicles, no money, plummeting credit (really gets me in the heart), debt, missing out on creating a family, and so much more just because of cancer. Cancer sucks! But I have Dan. And my family. And I have friends. And the support of my blog readers. And now Take The Fight, and Lindsey. I am energized with this new program. The way that it's organized helps to show the areas that I'm lacking (ex: concise supplement schedule). I've already uploaded a few new notes/research from my little kitchen office that I can share with Lindsey. It's exciting to have this running dialog with a buddy who is medically minded. I mean, literally, it's in her blood! With Take The Fight I'm able to fix the chinks in my armor, so that I can fight as a real warrior. This is truly changing my life.