Happy: A Quest for Life After Death

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Dance

As usual, Dr. Ryan didn't waste a second when he came into the exam room to give Mat his MRI results this week. He knows his patients have been at the edge of their seats for the last few days, and is kind enough to get out the news quickly, whether it's good or bad.

This time, it was "Hey, pretty good news. There's been some shrinkage in the tumors."

What? Pretty good news? This is the best news I've heard in more than two years.

That old standby from the '60s that sounds like profanity, 5FU, is working. Dr. Ryan earlier gave us the odds of this drug working as about one in 20. A five percent chance. No other drug -- torisel, sutent, avastin, AV-412 -- has actually shrunk the tumors. A couple of them have prevented some growth, but this drug is more ambitious.

The largest tumor, in Mat's liver, is about two centimeters smaller, and others in the lymph nodes and chest are also a bit smaller. (We don't know what the one on his ribs is doing -- his ribs are busy remodeling around the tumor, which is kind of like adding an extra bedroom made of bone.)

During the conversation with Dr. Ryan, which also covered the topics of the vampire series Twilight and travel to Bermuda, I had a distinct sensation of becoming much, much lighter. I had to check to be sure I wasn't floating up to the ceiling.

This is definitely a solid base hit, now we're hoping for a double. Heck, forget the double, we're giddy with visions of a possible extra year or more. A home run.

Why do I always feel like going to a baseball game after these appointments?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Pie Friday

I sometimes think wistfully about Pie Friday.

The blessed day, started by a coworker with a passion for pie, was observed for a few blissful months in my office. Nearly every Friday afternoon, someone would zip over to Petsi Pies (Beacon Street, Somerville) and bring back one ... or two ... or three pies and then send out an email alerting staff to their arrival. Then we'd all stand around in the hallway eating pie. The big filing cabinets there were a good stand-in for a sideboard, useful for slicing, serving, and admiring the pie.

Apple pie ... tart cherry crumb ... Key lime ... mixed berry ... chocolate banana cream pie and -- sorry mom -- bourbon chocolate pecan.

Of course the pies could never be divided perfectly evenly, and I always had the sense that a few of us lingered well past polishing off our pieces, hoping for a few bites of that last piece. Or maybe it was just me.

Sadly, the coworker who started Pie Friday left and the tradition died. (Her going-away party, however, was quite a smorgasbord.)

Lucky for me I have wonderful friends, one of whom brought a chocolate banana cream pie last week, and another of whom brought a Key lime pie this week. Yep, Petsi Pies.

My very own personal Pie Friday.

(OK, I did share with Mat, but it was with a certain degree of reluctance. I knew Mat liked Key lime, but since WHEN does Mat like chocolate?)