Houston – my mom refers to it as the “armpit of the south” – I thought it was rather clean. She’s lived there twice and has some harsh feelings towards it, but I love Houston. I love their food. I love their highways. I love their hospital. I really love their tacos! (Ask any of my friends and they will know my favorite taco place is now Torchy’s Tacos. If you haven’t been there, you are missing out – nothing compares. I could probably write an entire blog on my love for their tacos, but alas I will refrain.)
Scott, myself, our mothers, and Cole (Scott’s brother) were all headed to Houston for a second opinion on Scott’s situation. Our flight to Houston was like any other flight for me – terrible. Surely I am not the only one who has high anxiety when flying. I have to take one to two Dramamine prior to flight or I am a hot mess. Every little bump freaks me out. I swear I wasn’t always like this. As a child I had no fear – flying was fun. Where has my childlike wonder and freedom gone to? I think it left when I started fearing death. The older we get the closer it feels, the more real it becomes. To be honest there was only a little bit of turbulence and we landed safely. I have a problem – a flying problem.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6
This was most of our first times in Houston, so we were filled with excitement of a new adventure. Not the most exciting reason to visit a new place, but a reason none the less. We did get to have some fun and go to Top Golf in Katy, TX – I’m terrible at golf, but Scott enjoyed it. And of course this is when my obsession with Torchy’s Tacos all began – we had to eat dinner right? Well when in Texas – you find tex mex (or tacos). Just thinking about those tacos makes me want to hop on a plane and fly out there – well kinda.
The first and foremost reason we were in Houston is Scott had an appointment with an Oncologist who specializes in Lymphoma at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. There was an entire section of the hospital dedicated to Lymphoma! An ENTIRE SECTION! We were in awe and amazement as we walked through the doors of this gigantic hospital. The Cancer Center is spread through multiple huge buildings in the medical center of downtown Houston. You could get seriously lost if they didn’t give you direct instructions, a map, and plenty of signage throughout the trek of trying to find your way through the building and/or the streets. Out first directions lead us to elevator B, 8th floor – Lymphoma / Myeloma Center where we met a stylish, Italian oncologist wearing what I imagine were Italian leather shoes. He was a breath of fresh air.
This doctor explained that Scott’s Lymphoma treatment isn’t what he would have recommended, but said that radiation was the next step to completing Scott’s chemo he had already received. When we heard that Scott could have had a different, shorter treatment we were very upset as I’m sure you can imagine. He could have stayed in the hospital for a shorter period of time doing intensive chemo day and night being monitored. Yes, this seems extreme, but when you have to deal with nausea and sickness from 4 months of chemo, then this option would seem like a dream. A dream that could have been a reality if only we would have come here first. At this moment we all felt angry again. We doubted every decision we had made up to this point. How could we have known any better? We were told we didn’t have time to search for other opinions. Scott needed treatment right away with hast. So this is the journey we took. A journey through a terrible chemo experience that lead us to Houston.
After meeting with the oncologist we were sent to meet with the lymphoma radiologists by Elevator G, 1st floor all the way across the building – so far that you had to go back to the first floor to even be able to get to this section of the hospital. Did I mention MD Anderson was huge?
The radiologist was a bubbly, blonde with brilliant blue eyes and long lashes who was so engaging and sweet to us. She explained how radiation would work and how long Scott would have to do it if he needed it – 28 days/1 month. (I will expand on this in a different blog.)
After all the doctors reviewed Scott’s scans and met with us, they decided to have Scott come back in 3 months to see if the tumor in his chest had grown and was indeed cancerous and not just inflamation. So the wait began. March 2015 to June 2015.
This was our first trip to Houston, but it wouldn’t be our last. We’d be back.