Now you'd think that being told to fast all night, and then arrive at 7 am for blood work at the Mayo Clinic, only to find no blood work was actually ordered and I only had to register and then wait until 12:45 for my appointment, may have angered me a bit. I mean we drove until 12:30 am, slept for a bit in Minneapolis, and then got up at 4:30 am to drive to Rochester-all to fill out paperwork that we could have been done at a later time, but oh well. No that didn't upset me.
Rick and I happily set out to find breakfast and wait for my friend Kristi to arrive from Minneapolis. We spent a leisurely morning over pannekoekens and coffee. Then we found an outdoor sitting area and sat in the sun for awhile chatting the morning away. Nope, no anger over that, nothing but smiles.
Waiting 45 minutes for them to take me back to see the doctor didn't even bother me. I was told I would see a nurse practitioner, then the doctor, Dr. Prema Peethambaram, or Dr. P, as she is often called.
Our nurse practitioner, K, was young, confident, and very clinical. Her answers were "pat," rehearsed, like she'd said them a thousand times. From a science standpoint, she felt nutrition wasn't supported in the research so I should just eat well-balanced, but if I wanted sugar, eat all the sugar I wanted. She slowly shot down any ideas I had of how to help my body fight the cancer, because science showed no clear evidence it worked. Her main suggestion? Was to go home and spend time with my kids and take lots of pictures... And this was about the time I realized I was getting angry. How did she know I didn't do that already? She didn't even see me. She couldn't see the "woman" standing in front of her, she saw statistics, hard science, stage 4, and cancer. She gave me a book, shook my hand and went on her way. I felt let down and diminished, for a few minutes. And then I wanted to kick her butt. Smiles. Wow, so not like me, where was this attitude coming from?
But then Dr. P walked in. She was warm, intelligent, and even though she has also seen a thousand cases just like mine, she saw ME. Instantly. She saw the importance of being a mom to young boys. She loved the study my own Dr. P had found for me. She even said I was at a little bit of an advantage in Fargo, because the study that was opened in Fargo? Wouldn't be opened and available to Mayo patients for two more weeks. Its the politics of a larger hospital versus a smaller hospital. She would be happy to stay in touch with my Dr. P and wrote up an additional back up treatment that she has had success with. She saw me, and restored me back to who I am, a woman, who happens to be living with cancer. She breathed hope back into me and sent me on my way. I love having two Dr. P's on my team now.
The Gonda building of the Mayo Clinic.
View outside from the 10th floor.
Sitting outside in little courtyard outside looking back at the Gonda building. The sky was blue, the grass was greening up, the sun was out in force and my best friend was there.
Kristi and I who have a forever friendship that extends all the way back to 9th grade or so.
Superman, who drove me all the way and made sure my every need was met. I wouldn't choose to do this with anyone but him by my side. Lucky for me, he "picks me" right back.
Dale Chihuly sculptures in the foyer of the Mayo Clinic.
One last look back at the Gonda building.
Mulling everything over on the way home, I realize both Dr. P and K, gave me a bit of what I needed. K only served to strengthen my resolve to remain filled with hope, and the ability to fight the way I want to fight, with courage while resting in HIM. Nobody can steal your hope, without your permission. She will mature and grow in her experience and I don't hold anything against her.
So the Mayo Clinic is everything they say it is. It feels more like a hotel than a hospital. The service is impeccable and they are a well oiled machine. I wouldn't hesitate to bring another family member there or return myself if needed.
And just look what awaited me at home. In case I need any reminders at all, nothing says "Fight Like a Girl " better than Camouflage, now does it? Thanks girls! So glad to have the Moor-head girls on my team!
Monday I see Dr. Panwalkar, and with his blessing, start the clinical trial on Tuesday. Treatment, here I come.