Saturday, April 23, 2011

Future City Lady?

Seeing the New York City skyline never gets old to me.

Instead of staying in our overpriced-kissing-cheek-doorman-hotel, Mom somehow got lucky enough to score a great room at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City for less than $100. Considering the rooms in our normal hotel--which is located directly next to Sloan Kettering's outpatient center--were about $400 for Thursday night, we were thrilled with Mom's awesome trip planning skills (or maybe it was just good luck...)

Staying in Jersey City meant we had a new task to conquer: using the subway...successfully!

As most of you know, my sense of direction is quite awful. However, Mom is the best travel companion ever.While waiting for Melanoma & the City to get off work, Mom and I decided to do a trial subway trip. We wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing so we would not get lost Friday morning and be late for my appointments. Getting from the Path Station to World Trade Center was simple. So simple even I would not have gotten lost. Figuring out which subway to use after leaving the Path? That is where things got tricky... Due to our lack of subway knowledge, and thanks to the lack of signs, we got a little flustered while trying to figure out which subway to use next. We ended up walking around Tribeca for a while--secretly hoping to see a celebrity since the Tribeca Film Festival was taking place--until my dear friend Melanoma & the City reminded me I could download a subway map on my phone. Oh, the joys of technology! While that was downloading, she texted me the correct subway we wanted to use. Getting back to Jersey City from NYC was a piece of cake. Trial subway run = success.

Thursday evening Mom & I joined Melanoma & the City for dinner in the cutest bar & restaurant a few blocks from our hotel. If I wanted to live near NYC, I think I would truly enjoy Jersey City more. It was quiet but sophisticated. We chit chatted over delicious sandwiches and wine, sharing our latest melanoma stories. She also sees The Wizard at Sloan Kettering so it is always interesting to compare stories. We both think he is pretty awesome...even if he does kindly suggest our back scars are ugly! ;-)

Friday morning came too soon. Mom & I were on the subway at 8:00 which was shockingly slow considering that is rush hour. We made the observation that people on subways will do everything in their power not to talk to each other. They will read, listen to their iPod, or sleep. It is almost creepy how silent the train is even though it is crowded.

After having a delicious breakfast, we headed over to Memorial Sloan Kettering's outpatient center for my appointment with The Wizard. Even though it has been 4 months since I was diagnosed with melanoma, it is still a huge shock when I see the sign hanging on the building: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. It is the "Cancer Center" part that gets me. It is sometimes easy to pretend this is all just a horrible nightmare. Walking into the center, telling the receptionist my name, and having her actually confirm my information is a big fat reality check. Very sobering.

Anyway--The Wizard is thrilled with my decision to enroll in the Ipi trial. He explained I am not only doing myself a benefit, but I am helping society as a whole. Thanks to people who take these risks, medical research can continue. I guess I have done my good deed this month!

Directly following my appointment with The Wizard, I was sent off for blood work. Now, I have complained about this before, and I will continue to complain about it until the medical field starts to listen. If you are going to take blood from me, please make an effort not to hurt me. I honestly do not bruise that easily. Here is a picture of my arm last night. (Less than 24 hours after she did it!)

Now, that is unacceptable. I do not bruise that easily. I know she was in a hurry...but OUCH! 

The good news is that my labs arrived to me via Sloan Kettering's awesome patient website, and all is good! Doctors are always concerned about LDH levels. LDH levels are checked to see if the cancer has metastasized (spread) to organs beyond the skin or lymph nodes. My level was actually lower this time than the previous time. Everything else looks good, too. *Who knew I would learn to read labs and become overly excited when I see I am doing OK based on those 4 tubes of blood?!*

After the bloodwork, I was sent for an EKG. Since I am unable to lift my left arm over my head, it makes getting undressed difficult at times. Yesterday my arm was extremely sore and I could not--despite my best effort--get my sweater off. The poor old man scheduled to do my EKG became uncomfortable and grabbed a female to help me get undressed. No time for modesty... Good things from the EKG---my heart is A-OK!

It feels great to be receiving such good news lately. The first two months it was like we continued to get hit with bad news. Now any bit of good news I receive, I thrive on. It keeps me going!

I will post about my appointment with Dr. Glinda later...I apologize this post is so long. I guess a lot happened in 24 hours. ;-)

No comments: