I love me a good road trip.
Great scenery, good conversation, fun music, and snacking the entire time (unless I happen to fall asleep).
Sorry, there’s not enough room for all of you to tag along, but I will update you when I am back (and in essence, you will all be with me in spirit). Where will we be going, you might be wondering……Boston!
My oncologist in Canada believes it might not be a bad idea to receive a second opinion from the sarcoma clinic at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Essentially, there may be novel treatments, procedures, or clinical trials used in the United States that are not currently available to me in Canada.
The Dana Farber Cancer Institute is one of the leading cancer research centres in the world, so I am pretty hyped about hearing what they have to say. Additionally, being the nerd that I am, I have always wanted to see Harvard Law School.
Having some clam chowder might not be a bad idea either. I have always heard that Boston is a beautiful city, definitely one worth visiting. Obviously, I wish the whole ‘cancer thing’ wasn’t the reason for this road trip, but at the same time, I am very grateful that I am healthy enough to travel and enjoy the sights.
Apparently we will be traveling to Boston during one of the busiest weekends of the year. Correct me if I am wrong, but massive crowds and huge lineups don’t really work wonders for reducing stress levels. I will make sure to meditate my way around the city. I honestly thought we would be sleeping out of my dad’s car during the time we were there because it was insanely difficult to find a hotel. My cousin, who is awesome at finding hotels and getting deals, was on the phone for five hours trying to desperately find us somewhere to sleep. We must have called every hotel within the Boston area. Luckily, we scored a hotel. There will be four of us traveling, however, we could not get two separate rooms, that’s just crazy talk, so we had to settle on one room with everyone all nestled up together. How romantic, right? There goes Garrett’s plan of sleeping naked. Probably not such a good idea with his father-in-law in the same room. Could be a little awkward. They get along fabulously, don’t get me wrong, but that might be a little too close for comfort. I, on the other hand, will have the pleasure of being serenaded by the symphony orchestra of snorers. It’s 3 against 1. I don’t stand a chance. But I will have plenty of earplugs with me.
I am not sure what to expect from this consultation. I am hoping that the information communicated to me will be positive. Hopefully, there is something that can be done or tried that may work on my type of cancer. My fingers, toes, and anything else I can think of are all crossed! As I have probably mentioned before, the thing with metastatic cancer is that there are very few options.
My cancer is incurable. So realistically speaking, what we are hoping for is something that will keep the disease stabilized. The idea behind stable disease is that it “buys you more time” to enjoy and live your life, as well as providing you with the hope that during that extra time you just bought yourself, a cure will be discovered. Or perhaps your disease will just miraculously go away. “Poof! Just like that!” Seems pretty far-fetched, I know. But without hope, we have nothing.
I have my handy little journal that I like to take with me to my appointments. I strongly suggest that you all take a journal, notepad, or scrap piece of paper with you when you visit your doctors. Not just for doodling while you are waiting five hours for an appointment, but also to trigger your memory with respect to all of those wonderful questions that you have been researching for months and were planning to ask your oncologist or treatment team. It’s unbelievable how quickly distracted we can become during medical appointments. As soon as you enter your second or third waiting room, you magically forget everything you had been meaning to ask for months. For instance, when I was first told the cancer came back or that it had metastasized, all I heard was this…“cancer,” “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” “cancer, cancer, cancer.” So, to avoid this same situation reoccurring, my diary will be traveling with me to Boston.
One of the main topics for discussion is whether I might potentially be a candidate for immunotherapy. For those of you unfamiliar with this fancy cancer treatment, basically immunotherapy is a treatment that uses your body’s own immune system to help combat cancer. Using targeted therapies that activate the immune system seems to be the future in cancer treatment. Spoiler alert: The immune system has always played a role in fighting cancer. At some point I will be dedicating an entire blogpost to immunotherapy, so not to worry, I got your back! Another question I have is related to whether there are any clinical trials available at the moment that successfully target and treat osteosarcoma (in general) as well as metastatic osteosarcoma in the lungs, more specifically.
In the meantime, I am going to be looking into fabulous restaurants to try out while we are there. And let’s not forget the shopping! If any of you have any suggestions as to good eats and good buys, I am all ears. Please, feel free to share. I will desperately aim to not let this whole ‘cancer thing’ dictate the mood for our entire trip. Although I guess I picked the wrong time to revamp my entire diet and lifestyle, but oh well. No Boston Cream Pie or hot dogs from Fenway for me… you feel my pain, right? I am sure there are equally delicious healthy options out there that I can enjoy. So there!
I will be sure to update all of you, my wonderful followers, upon my return. I will let you know what the medical opinion was down there, tell you about any memorable meals we ate or places we visited or things I bought, and of course, whether or not Garrett went the pyjama route while bonding with the in-laws.
Ahhh, I’ve always loved myself a good old fashioned road trip. Just think of us as the Griswolds…..”National Lampoon’s Cancer Vacation.” Watch out Boston, here we come!
Love, health, and Harvard!