Thursday, September 18, 2008

Radiation Day 4+Malibu Triathlon Report

I am so happy to be laying in bed, with every member of my family also on the bed. My clothes are still on; everyone else is in pajamas. Pablo has a hot pack on his belly—that mysterious abdominal pain is still nagging him. Grady is studying, sprawled out at the foot of our bed. Jo Ann is playing a word game on Facebook. And I am typing on my BlackBerry. If our bed were a raft, the entire family would be floating safely and contentedly toward some remote island.

This is my ideal night. While we were residing in 4 West, I longed for a night like this.

Dr Mascarenhas was on the phone to Jo Ann this evening, reviewing a couple theories about the origin of this pain, and the gurgling noise coming from his intestines. Dr Stein is going to meet us in the Radiation Oncology clinic at 7:30 a.m. to examine Pablo.

We want to get to the bottom of this before the weekend. No reason to be back in the U.S.S.(E.)R. on our two precious days OFF from CHLA! Forget that!

Radiation treatment #4 was the smoothest and easiest yet. Sitting on the gurney in the Rad Room, Pablo leaned his back against my chest automatically. Moments later, Dr McIlvaine pushed the anesthesia syringe, Pablo's eyes rolled back and his head fell back into my waiting hand. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday this brought me to tears. Today, I was OK. Something about P's nonchalance and comfort in that room transferred to me. If this brave little boy ain't freaked, why should I be tweaked?

For the first time, I asked the docs if I could watch the radiation treatment on the video monitors-a pair of Panasonic Cathode-ray screens from the mid-80s. An identical pair of monitors were likely housed in the broadcast studio of the Reagan-era White House. The upside to the antique monitors is that I wasn't able to make out fine detail. All I could see is an oblique human figure laying on a table, draped in a white sheet, with a mask on his face, and red lasers shooting off in all directions. My curiosity was satisfied nonetheless—I saw P getting radiated. I don't ever have to look again.

On the way to CHLA today, I asked Pablo if he recalled rolling into the treatment room the day before. Each day, he sits up on the gurney, and 'drives' it into the treat room. He told me he had no memory of that. I asked him a series of questions related to our pre-treatment routines, searching for any rays of memory. He had none.

Somehow, this makes me feel better.

I went to the office today. It was wonderful to be back. Fun, loud and lots of laughs. Plus a load of good work. Rode one of my bikes and had to change my shirt when I got to the office. Riding in street clothes with a shoulder bag feels weird, but is also cool. Makes me feel like a teenager/college student again-like when I used to ride my bike everywhere, with heavy loads of books and music in my bag.

Hold up! All this talk about riding reminds me that I have not given the Malibu Triathlon update!

Adam, Brandon and I had a fantastic time, and we did pretty darn well! The race was half mile swim, 18 mile bike and 5 mile run.

Here's how we fared:

• 1 hour 42 minutes total time

• 14th place among the relay teams

• 42nd among the entire field of 3000+ athletes

• I came in SECOND among cyclists on relay teams, finishing the 18 miles in 46 minutes 11 seconds!

I'm VERY PROUD of the work we did at Zuma Beach. We got up at 4 a.m., and started the race at 7:30. Insane. No one in their right mind would do it. But who said you needed to be sane to kick the PANTS out of cancer?

I saw a ton of CHLA athletes out there, including Dr Mascarenhas, who ran on a relay team with Dr Marcio rocking the bike.

The event raised $950,000 for the cancer research and treatment of CHLA. Jennifer Lopez raised $127K of that, and at the finish line, she stated that she "hoped the money would go to good use."

OK, will update you more tomorrow.

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