Thursday, November 12, 2009

Swedish Cancer Institute: the best place in the WHOLE world

15 down, 2 to go!!!!

Yesterday I flew up to Seattle for the day. The whole day was absolutely wonderful. It started with Julian and I at Pho Hai Yen for some rockin Rainier Valley pho and a tour of NoBea. Julian is fabulous. While part of me would like him to realize that there is no life in NoBea without me (and that he should move to the East Bay) it gives me even MORE pleasure to see him so happy and thriving in an environment I know for sure to be a GREAT PLACE. I guess that's a good thing :)

Then I went to Swedish. I had been wondering if I was being a total prima donna about the whole switch back, but the MINUTE I walked into Swedish I knew I had made the right choice. The front desk ladies were so happy to see me! My phlebotomists gave me a hug! People couldn't stop telling me how happy they were to see me and how absolutely fantastic I was looking. Dr. K and I had a longer sit down than we have in months. He told me how proud he was of me and how fantastic I looked had me flex my rockin abs for him (very appreciative) and hugged a lot and talked about all the parts of this journey that had brought me to better places. Perhaps more importantly for my readers, we talked all about the FUTURE. The FUTURE post-treatment. What it means when I am no longer tethered to an IV pole and cell-killing poisons!

The plan:
December 16: second to last infusion at Swedish
January 13: LAST infusion
Sometime in January: full PET, bone marrow biopsy, brain MRI, full blood panel... intentionally missing in this series of tests is the SPINAL TAP which Dr. K waived as I had a clean one last spring during my migraine-month.
After everything comes back clear, I'm on to semi yearly check ups which I have a feeling will consist mostly of hugs.

After seeing Dr. K I went up to treatment. Jenny B, one of my fave nurses was assigned to me which was a good time. Anita, who is my magic IV starter was on lunch, but when Jenny told her I was outside, she left her lunch just to start my IV--on the first try! Later Jenny said that Anita does not usually do these things, but that she has a liking for me! Maura and Marilyn came by for hugs and to postulate when in fact, Marilyn's son and I can get married. Maybe in a few years.

All I can say is that these are my People. I love the staff at Swedish so much.

Then I was off to an early Dinner Club (sans CL) at the AC and RAchel's. Rachel made an incredible vegan feast that involved garbanzo beans and we just enjoyed a reunion of our community. Rachel drove me back to the airport after dinner and I was in Berkeley, in my bed, by 11pm.

Damn, Seattle. You've been working out. Yesterday you were 40 degrees, sunny, and beautiful. It worked. I'll declare on the internet that I'm still madly in love with you. Wait for me, baby. I'll be back in 18 months.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Can you tell us the difference between Swedish and the Hutch. Have you been to both? Why did you choose Swedish over Hutch? I'm searching for some options for myself.

Jessie O said...

From my understanding of these things, Swedish is the best place to be if you have a pretty "normal" cancer--and aren't looking for cutting edge treatment options. The doctors and nurses are pretty amazing and they have a first class set up for radiation, medical oncology... a treatment center, the hospital, social workers, physical therapists, naturopaths, nutritionists, pharmacy--I had everything I needed in one building!

At the Hutch they have more research doctors, patients interact primarily with nurse practitioners and you have access to a pantheon of cancer research. I'd definitely visit both places. My friends at Hutch loved their NPs, I love my oncologist... See where you have the best connection--you'll be spending a lot of time there!