We are learning much today at MD Anderson. First is that it is a huge place. After our initial new patient consult, we did blood work and were given time to get food and walk around. Just within the main building of the center it is much bigger than I thought.
We made it to the quiet observation deck floor. We found “the park”, which the best way to describe is like the promenade deck on a big cruise ship!
We finish our walk around
When we get back to the doctor’s office to meet our oncologist, we discover some other numbers are low and they want me to push her around in a wheelchair the rest of our time here. Michele is a warrior. But we now have wheels.
We learned how to get around from building to building. Not only do they have enclosed walkways called sky bridges, but they also have gold cart mini shuttles. The drivers are super nice and gave us shortcut directions.
All I can think is that there must be some big differences in Xray Machines as everyone wants to do their own. LOL. I will say that the ones here are VERY nice! Got that done and back on the cart to come back to the infusion center.
We get our name called and are sent back to another room to start our blood infusion. After everything is setup we figure another 30 minutes to an hour? Nope. 2 and half to 3 hours.
The news everyone wants to hear.
The doctor believes that the cancer may already be in a remission state. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But there is more to the story. This facility is the #1 Leukemia Center in the world! What they found over the years is that if they stopped treatments when they thought the battle was over, it would come back. As we say… “The beatings will continue until morale improves”.
What we know now in treatment here at MD Anderson Cancer Center is that we will be here 2-3 times a week for lab work and if needed, infusions to help counter what they see. Then there will be more rounds of Chemo ahead. We may not see a 3 week stay again, but we are quite sure we will see 4-5 day stays for the next 6 cycles. Then we will have maintenance treatments.
The halls have souls
This place has a way of reminding us that Cancer is a beast and there are so many people in the fight. Every patient here is a Cancer Patient. In the halls and cafes, you will find people with IV Trees walking around. We saw one woman wheeled into the gift shop with the help of a care giver and nurse to buy something. We say next to the Childrens retreat room for a bit. No one over 30 allowed. We also discovered many areas that are setup for people to rest and get away from the areas where they are calling patients back into a room.
It reminds me of some of the airports around the world. Hospitals and airports have these things in common:
- they are massive structures.
- there are many areas the public are not allowed to go.
- the people in the halls today, won’t be the same people you will see tomorrow.
- they may be the same people you see on the same day next week.
- there are armies of people working behind the scenes to make things run smoothly.
- Miracle workers are quietly doing their job to help the souls they are entrusted to serve.
We realized today that all the things we have experienced, trained on, and lived through have prepared us for this very day.
When we cry because we are overwhelmed with so many people battling cancer, our hearts have been molded to share that empathy.
When we are grateful that our news is good, we know that others have fought the hard battles and sacrificed to allow the doctors learn how to win the next war.
We also are humbled to know that no matter how big we think we are in our own world, there is a bigger world out there. Cancer cells know nothing of our bank accounts, social media, or empires built or destroyed. They only came to fight and we know that the fighter we know as Michele will win.
We love all of you for caring about this fight.
Mike and Michele