I felt a bit of a dope this week when, after reading last week’s column, "Whew!", multiple friends called to inquire specifically as to the "Tony-the-Tiger Great" news I wrote that I received from my oncologist, and I couldn’t answer them in any detail: shrinkage, less fluid, "partial stable remission"? Nothing. And though I tried to get my oncologist to explain to me exactly what was so encouraging about this most recent CT Scan – compared to the one I took three months ago (as opposed to the one I had nine months ago which was mistakenly compared to this most recent scan and resulted in the "Some better, some worse. I’ll explain more on Friday" e-mail I received from my doctor and talked about in "Whew!") – I was rebuffed. Rebuffed in the best possible way: being told instead how great I was doing, how great my lab results were (for this most recent pre-chemotherapy) and how I could live a long time like this (presumably continuing to be infused with Alimta) – it was almost disconcerting; especially when you consider the original e-mail assessment we received and our less-than-positive interpretation of it. Moreover, the oncologist’s exuberance and smiling countenance, along with his offer of a congratulatory handshake led me away from the missing facts and immediately into these new-found feelings.
March 05, 2014 - Baltimore — CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) plans to contribute another $110,000 to Arlington Free Clinic to help the Northern Virginia health clinic better coordinate care during the next year for more than 500 uninsured patients – many of who have chronic diseases that require increased monitoring and adherence to strict medication schedules. Arlington Free Clinic intends to use CareFirst’s latest funding to strengthen its relationship with its network of community medical partners, equip diabetic patients with more resources and education to help them control their disease, and increase its patients’ compliance with recommended immunization schedules.
City Council set to take up proposal to remove parking and install bike lanes.
Months of bitter accusations and counter-accusations are set to culminate this weekend as members of the Alexandria City Council take up a plan to remove four blocks of parking spaces on King Street to make room for a bike lane in each direction.
Originally, this column was to be a discussion about the communication process between my doctor and this patient. Specifically, the time lag between when tests are performed/completed and when those results are communicated to the doctor who in turn – per this patient’s request, e-mails them to me. In the olden days, results were most likely offered up in person; in the post-olden days, more likely a phone call was made; presently, at least in my experience, results most likely will be e-mailed. I imagine an enduring problem for the patient – during all three "days," has been the time waiting for test results and hearing about them from your doctor. Excruciating is one of the most accurate characterizations of that delay, combined with an unhealthy dose of helplessness. Eventually, if you live long enough, you sort of become accustomed to the process and learn to roll with the punches, both figuratively and literally. Nevertheless, the patience and experience you learn can’t totally stop the rampant speculation that keeps you up at night and sleepy during the day.
Local experts offer tips for keeping your family happy.
As Elizabeth Rees drove her daughter and two of her daughter’s friends to a library reading group recently, the Alexandria mother of three admits that she felt like a chauffeur at first. But she had a change of heart after hearing sounds of laughter.
While we’re exchanging pleasantries here, in semi real time – although this column will not be most read until March 6th (I need to submit it on Monday, March 3rd as we go to press on Tuesday, March 5th), I feel the obligation, given how last week’s column ended, to update you on the results from my February 26th CT Scan. Presumably, by the title you all have determined that as of this writing, Saturday, March 1st, I have not heard back from my oncologist. Typically, I would have already heard from him, electronically. But so far, not a peep, electronic or otherwise and believe me, I’ve been checking, as you might imagine.
I made it. It’s five years after receiving a terminal diagnosis on February 27, 2009 from my oncologist: stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, accompanied by a "13-month to two-year" prognosis. Let’s be honest, medical professionals don’t toss around the word "terminal" because you’re going to be treated at an airport. Presumably, they know their facts and figures as well as the patient’s present condition, confirmed by a variety of diagnostic results from X-Rays, CT Scans, P.E.T. Scans, lab work and of course the ever-popular biopsy, so their diagnosis/prognosis is a bit more than an educated guess. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to every rule and until proven otherwise, I was not about to succumb to their statistics. Still, based on the best medical knowledge available at the time, this patient (yours truly) was given a limited life expectancy and encouraged to take the vacation I had always dreamed of – for obvious you’re-life-is-now-shorter-than-you-ever-imagined-type reasons, and yet, five years hence, here I am.
A movable feast through Old Town, Del Ray and Carlyle?
This spring, advocates for food trucks will engage in a battle with brick-and-mortar restaurants.
A new vision for the Potomac Community Center’s rink of dreams has been adopted, while plans to use the former roller hockey rink at Potomac Community Center for athletes with disabilities are being finalized. Programs could start by the summer camp season, according to council documents. Montgomery County Council held a public hearing Feb. 11 on a proposal to use $250,000 of General Obligation Bonds and community contributions to convert the dormant roller hockey rink at the Potomac Community Center into an adaptive sports court for athletes with disabilities. “The increase is needed to meet the increased demands for therapeutic recreation services for persons with disabilities,” according to County Executive Isiah Leggett. “I appreciate your prompt consideration of this action.”
Offering an array of activities for every age group, YMCA Alexandria continued in 2013 to serve as a center for wellness in our community and plans another rich program of services for 2014. Activities available to members — from infants to nonagenarians — include personal and group cardiovascular training and weightlifting; aquatics and a youth swim team (the Sea Dragons); aerobics, pilates, zumba, yoga, ballet, and cycling; as well as day care, after-school care, and teen leadership opportunities.
"Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Gloom of Night…" Have you ever heard that motto before? You have if you’ve been to the New York City General Post Office. It’s not actually the official motto of the post office, but it’s engraved on the front of their building since 1896. Therefore, for the sake of this story, let’s pretend it is.
Not to state the obvious (which I readily admit I do), but to be given a terminal diagnosis: stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer, along with a rather disappointing prognosis: "13 months to two years" is a challenging set of extremely unexpected (given my immediate family’s medical history) circumstances. I don’t want to say that I live under a dark cloud – because I don’t like the negative implication or reaction it conjures, but I definitely feel as if I have a metaphorical sword of Damocles hanging over my head; which I only refer to as an-out-of-context Three Stooges reference wherein a non-Stooge was innocently standing under a pie which Moe had thrown to the ceiling and there it stuck, hanging precariously over the character’s head. Now I still don’t know the proper historical context of the sword of Damocles, I only know the Three Stooges version, but there was some imminent danger involved (not death, mind you), but rather a falling pie which ultimately landed flush on the character’s face as she looked up to make further inquiries. Nevertheless, pie issues/references notwithstanding, having seen my oncologist today while being infused and receiving a big smile/ "you’re going great"/thumbs-up set of gestures/reactions while reclining in my Barcalounger with a chemotherapy I.V. dripping medicine into my right arm, is the kind of super-positive feedback with which I can live. Along with my every-three-week pre-chemotherapy lab work and my every-three-month CT Scan followed by my every-three-month face-to-face appointment with my oncologist, this is how I roll. Worrying about upcoming tests, waiting anxiously for results, trying not to anticipate good, bad or indifferent; living day to day and trying to appreciate my good fortune and the unexpected above-average quality of life with which I’ve been blessed – for a terminal cancer patient, that is.
Features organic and all-natural products.
A new grocery store, aimed at customers interested in buying natural and organic foods, has opened for business in Fair Lakes.
VIC Raises Issues of the Poor
Calling for expanded mental health services and greater access to Medicaid for the most vulnerable in the Mount Vernon community, a 30-member delegation from VIC traveled to Richmond, Feb. 6, to speak with area legislators.
Not that I minded it in the least (in fact, I appreciated it in the most), but I received my first senior discount the other day. I was fast-fooding at my local Roy Rogers restaurant when the unexpected kindness occurred. Considering that I’m not at the age yet when such discounts are typically available, I certainly did not (do not) presume that my appearance somehow reflects an age which I am not. In truth, I don’t believe it does. So even though I didn’t ask for the age-related discount, I was offered/given it nonetheless. As the cashier tallied my bill, she then spoke the price and adjusted it downward 10 percent for my surprise "senior" discount. On hearing the lower price and the reason for it, I immediately responded: "Oh, you’re giving senior discounts to people over 40?" To which she replied, while looking me directly in the eye: "No. Over 30." Laughing at her quick-thinking quip, I thanked her again for the discount and commended her on her excellent answer/customer service.
- Floor Debate on Transvaginal Amendment 9 comments