Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Incalculable Odds

Dori is beginning Round 4 of 6 of vidaza therapy today. She just called me from the hospital, encouraging me to view her good counts online. Platelets and white and red blood cell counts are all normal.

The good news is welcome, since I've been somewhat on edge this break. I've had too much time to think, really. I needed a good run yesterday to combat some negative thoughts, along with the decadent apple crumb pie my "evil" sister brought Christmas Day. After breakfast, Will and I drove to Shelby Bottoms, a flat greenway along the Cumberland River. Will biked, while Pepper and I ran into a cold northwest wind.

Midway through the run, the sun broke through after days of cloud cover. The massive low pressure system that's wreaked havoc along the east coast and dropped a few inches of snow around here finally departed. We took a break at 3.4 miles, stretched and hydrated, and started a downwind return. It felt great to be outside with my son, who I praised for being so active in his life.

My pace was intentionally slow, 10:55/mile, because I didn't know how I would last on an eight-miler. Finishing felt great. Pepper ran a PR distance and had plenty of energy left. Amazing, since he could barely run a few miles only months ago. Now he's fit. I rewarded myself with a latte and Will with a hot chocolate, and we split a scrumptious sugar cookie. Food tastes so good after a long run.

Last night, Dori and I went to our friend Kathy's house for some great Italian food, company and conversation with friends. I toasted Kathy, who is an unsung hero in our lives. Kathy has helped start four hematolgy clinics and commutes to Atlanta each week, which is eight hours on the road. Her team is on the cutting edge of treatment for blood cancers.

She was the first who enlightened Dori and me about vidaza, which her team is using in Georgia. When we mentioned vidaza to Vanderbilt's doctors, they'd heard of it, but weren't really using it much. I am convinced if 1) Kathy had not mentioned vidaza and been "kindly aggressive" in the process; and 2) we had not asked Vanderbilt to present Dori's case to the team at Fred Hutchison in Seattle that Dori would not have had the turnaround she is experiencing.

During the toast, several folks fought back tears. Dori chimed in and said what's she's told me before: Kathy always seems to call her at the right time and say the right things. Kathy's husband Kevin calls her an angel, and I couldn't agree more. Kathy is a very special angel.

How do we know her? Kathy's daughter is classmates with Will. Last night, she presented a Chicago Bears' winter cap to give to Will, who beamed this morning when he received it. Several Vanderbilt graduates are stars on the Bears' team, so Will is in Ten-Year Old Heaven.

What are the odds a hematology expert with a heart of gold would have a child at our kids' school, let alone in our son's class? Infinitesimal. How does one make sense of such a thing? There is no rational explanation. We can only trust and believe in a greater reason for having to endure so much.

We'll know soon if Dori's December itchfest is GVHD-related. I'm beginning to think so, especially after Kathy's review and diagnosis last night. Dori said if the itching is necessary to keep leukemia at bay, she's all for it.

1 comment:

ChuckEastNashville said...

Jim, glad to read about Dori's improving health and you logging dsome East nashville miles. Next time you run Shelby Bottoms drop me a line. Would enjoy a run with you to catch up.