It pretty much started Tuesday morning with a phone call from Joanne. Scott had his first appointment with his new oncologist in Denver and I planned on attending with them. I’d been watching a morning show and there was a news crawler at the bottom warning against severe thunderstorms in the eastern plains. “Cool”, I thought. Diane should be getting a great show out where she lives today. Joanne was calling to find out if I still wanted to go with them even though the weather was bad. I peeked out the window and it was overcast but that was about it. Thinking, “I can handle a severe thunderstorm or two” I said “sure, of COURSE I still want to go!”.
I got in my car and started to drive to Scott and Joanne’s. Not far from my house it started to graupel. About halfway there (hmmm, less than five miles from my house) the snow started to come down. It was coming down heavy as I neared their house and there was already many inches of accumulation of very soggy snow. It was wet and sticky and clung to everything – signs, poles, whatever it came up against. What a mess. But now I knew what Joanne was talking about! Less than ten miles away and they were in the middle of a very wintery storm. But this was a very important “time is of the essence” sort of appointment, and we couldn’t be deterred by a little weather, now could we?
We started the climb up I-25 into Monument Pass. It was really dumping snow by then. I feared that many of these trees would lose branches, or come down completely under the sheer weight of all this soggy snow!
At times almost zero-visibility. On the other side of the freeway traffic had stopped. Miles and miles of south-bound traffic going absolutely nowhere. Hope nobody needs a restroom.
We were able to proceed with caution. We made it through the pass, albeit slowly, speeding up when the visibility occasionally improved. Once we got through the pass, the snow abated and turned mostly into rain and sleet. And we arrived at the appointment with time to spare. Such adventure! It tends to find you when you least expect it!
The oncologist’s office shares a waiting room with the surgeon’s office. We walked in and immediately headed for the same spot we’d sat in before. Why is that? Is there some measure of comfort in having a “usual seat”? Dunno! As we sat, Joanne started the daunting process of filling out the 217 pages of required forms and releases. Way across the room one of the staff called “John….John…John…” and looked about the room. For some reason she then headed all the way across the room towards us. “I’m not John”, Scott said. And then he said his name. “Mr. Cuddles?” the staff member queried? We all laughed. While it’s similar in part to his name, and while I’m sure he IS cuddly, it just sounded so funny! Mr. Cuddles. And Mrs. Cuddles, apparently(!), filling out forms!
Rewind. In his last appointment with his surgeon Scott was given some options in regards to follow-up treatment. The option which seemed to offer Scott the best chances was also the one which is very rigorous and difficult to complete. And it was a clinical trial. A clinical trial in Houston. And it was months (6-8) long. The thought of temporarily relocating to Houston wasn’t a good one, but if that was where the best treatment was, that seemed to be the way to go. Houston.
But then the oncologist started to delinate options. The first option, do nothing, wasn’t where Scott and Joanne felt that God was leading. On to the second. As she started talking, we all started to look at each other. This option sounded EXACTLY like the Houston clinical trial! Scott pulled out the paper on the trial and showed it to the doctor to confirm that we were hearing correctly. Yes. It’s the same thing. Only it’s not a clinical trial where she practices. And not very many people are offered this option. Dr. Kane wants anyone who goes on this regimen to be young, and other than having pancreatic cancer, to be healthy! She was offering him the identical treatment that he would have gotten in Houston, only he could stay at home. What a blessing. He will be able to stay in his own house, in the middle of his support system, and near his beloved trees and front-range. “Why,” Scott wondered out loud to the oncologist “did the surgeon not know you have the same regimen available here?”. Her answer was that it was probably because she offered it to so few people.
And so, there is a plan now. Scott will hopefully start his chemo and radiation regimen in two weeks. He has to have a PET scan and have a long-term vascular access device (port) placed through which he will received his chemo, and he has to see the radiation oncologist so that she can create a treatment plan. And then he can start. Selfish note: I am glad that I will be able to be here for the first few weeks of his treatment.
Appointment completed and spirits much lifted we head out to the car. It’s raining fairly heavily so we dash into the car hoping to get back home before the I-25 is closed due to icing in the colder temperatures later in the day. Turn the key. Click click click. Yup. Dead battery. I run back into the medical center to see if there’s anyone who can jump us. As it turns out, it happens often enough that it is a service that security offers! I dash back to the car to let S&J know that security will be coming shortly and I find that Joanne has been on the phone listening to road closures. And every possible route back home is closed. Snowed in! Or I guess it would be “snowed out”!
Time to find a hotel room before every other stranded passenger snap them all up! The first hotel we stopped at was full already. The staff at that hotel graciously called three other hotels before finding an available room for us. Excellent. We at least didn’t have to sleep in the car. Time for a coffee or a latte. Barnes and Noble has Starbucks inside. Hot Chai Latte in hand, I decided to buy a book to read that night. Abner had recommended two books by the same author to me. “Velvet Elvis” and “Sex God” by Rob Bell. I picked up a copy of “Sex God”. Abner says “I don’t read Mama Lou, and I read these books almost without stopping!”. We had both greatly enjoyed “Blue Like Jazz” and Abner said if I like that, I surely like these. Rob Bell is a Christian, an author, a speaker, a film-maker, and the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan. This book is a frank look at sexuality and Christianity and how we are sexual creatures and how that sexuality plays into all aspects of our lives. I am sure I will posting on this book in the near future.
With the acquisition of comfort beverages taken care of, it was off to shop at CostCo. Do you shop at CostCo? Does it give you palpitations? It sure does give them to me. I go in there and feel a sudden need to purchase a 500 pound bag of rice and a case of 8 gallon bottles of extra virgin olive oil. And it’s sort of hard to just walk past the bag of a hundred shiny red Baby Bel cheese wheels in a net bag. Well, it is for me. Pallet of Splenda anyone???
Poor Mew Ling. I had fed her breakfast. And she wasn’t going to eat again until I got home, whenever that would be. A quick call to my sister and I find that she is in the middle of a blizzard! White out. (I didn’t even ask if going to my house to feed my precious was EVEN a possibility…I knew it was not.) She wouldn’t starve. But she would be lonely (or I would be, for her, anyway).
We slogged back to the car with our CostCo purchases. Among other items, Scott and Joanne bought a twin-pack of memory foam pillows. Scott had tried a couple of styles of the pillow while in CostCo by laying down on pallets first and then on a cushioned deck chair. He wasn’t sure if he liked them or not. Heck! We have to spend the night nearby. Why not buy them, try them at the hotel, and return them if they didn’t like them! Such a plan! So, we slogged through the increasing slushy precipitation back to the car with the pillows and our other purchases and headed off for a nice dinner.
Which we had at J. Alexanders. Yum. It continued to snow. An hour from home and we are stuck. Go figure! We checked into the hotel, got toothbrushes and toothpaste from the front desk, and fell into bed, in our clothes. Haven’t slept in my clothes since Africa! We got a free movie. “Rocky Balboa”. Sly looked weird in it, but I enjoyed all the harkenings back to the original ”Rocky”. I watched some, fell asleep, woke up, watched some, fell asleep woke up, watched some, and fell asleep. I guess I missed more than half the movie. But I don’t think I’ll rent it. I hear it ends in a tie.
When we woke up yesterday morning, the sun was shining and the roads were clear. I-25 was open. Other than some accumulated snow, it was as though yesterday never even happened! We were good to go. When I woke up Scott had already brought breakfast up from downstairs. Thanks Mr. Cuddles! So we ate. And rested some more. And then headed out. Back to CostCo! The pillows didn’t end up exciting them! So those were returned and a few more items were purchased. One more stop at Starbuck’s for comfort beverages and we were on the road. The pass was still very snowy, but the road was clear. And most of snow which had burdened the trees to what looked like their breaking point had already melted.
Almost the same trees, not quite a day later. What a difference a day makes!
There was quite a bit of snow at Scott and Joanne’s still, but as I neared my own home, it appeared that it hadn’t even snowed! So odd. So very odd. I spoke with my sister last night, and she still had 3-4 foot drifts up against her house. I talked with a neighbor today who told me “we had a few flakes of snow here, but that’s it”.
And Mew? Let’s just say she told me all about it when I got home…
All this snow on Tuesday. More maybe tomorrow. And come Sunday? It’s supposed to be in the 80′s. Weird place for weather this Colorado place. Weird weird weird. It’ll probably snow in May, too!
Doncha just love how adventure finds you when you least expect it?