The episodes of achiness, malaise, cough, fever and chills have visited more frequently and stayed longer. They respond nicely to the five day steroid tapers and then a few days later the symptoms are back. MM's pullmonologist put it in perspective this week when he said over the phone: "Hey I am just thrilled to be talking to you on the phone. My other patient's with lung disease as severe as yours are either dead, or can't get out of bed." MM was a little shocked by this, but I wasn't. My nurse friend Sara says "sheer will, that's what he's made of."
We made the trip to Tampa and back this week. I took two days off from work so I could go with him. He feigned protest, but it wasn't convincing. We arrived Tuesday at 3:30, spent a couple of hours getting labs, CTscans, brain MRI. Dinner, hotel, bed. I kept trying to let go of outcomes but it didn't work. The tension headache woke me at 3, vomiting followed at 5. I felt better by 7. We left the hotel at 8:30. We saw Dr. E the neurosurgeon first. He was serious, but not dire. He printed pictures of MM's brain for us, showing us the shrinkage and good response of the parietal tumor. He showed us the frontal lobe tumor which has grown 1 mm, not too much, still watch and wait. He scheduled MM for repeat MRI and office visit in 3 months. MM said "You are going to be here in 3 months, right? Dr. E replied," I'm taking it one day at a time." I took that to mean he's being courted by other institutions. We just get so attached, even if they don't. It was hard to lose Dr. Rau and Dr. Weber to the next phases of their careers, so my fingers are crossed that Dr. E will stick it out.