Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finding Hope

After being at Arrowhead Regional and in the dark for so many months, Vanessa decided she deserved better, and went on the search for new treatment.  She got hold of her medical records and set up a consultation at City of Hope.  She asked me if I could go with her that day to meet with the Doctor and of course I accompanied her. 

 This was a very important day for Vanessa, a day of Hope for something more.  Hope to survive, and Hope to beat the Cancer.  Vanessa found the attitude she needed to survive, and it was largely based on hope.  So what better of a place to get treatment than City of Hope?  One of the most amazing Cancer centers in the country.  This isn’t just a hospital that specializes in anything and everything, its main focus is Cancer.  They also focus on T.B. and AIDS, and Diabetes.  Vanessa got all dressed up, did her make up, and rocked a shiny bald head.  I also dressed up.  Vanessa and I decided we needed to show the Doctor that we were serious about wanting better treatment, that we weren’t just some young kids coming in and wasting time, we wanted to beat this.  I also decided to rock my bald head with her that day.  I wanted everyone to know she had a strong support group.  I wanted the Doctor to know, I was going through it with her, she wasn’t alone.

Just upon arrival, we were blown away at the size of the facility.  HUGE and beautiful! Just driving onto the campus gave us both a surge of excitement and Hope.  This is where Vanessa needed to be, this place was for her.  We parked the car and walked to the main entrance of the Hospital.  A beautiful fountain placed out front where we took our first pictures together of finally finding Hope.  I can always see the photos in my mind, I don’t even need to see them.  Vanessa looked so happy, and relieved to finally be somewhere better.  We walked inside and got her file with directions on places we needed to go.  This place was huge, and pretty confusing to find our way, but we made it through on the hoops and jumps and finally were waiting to meet with the Doctor.

One thing I will never forget about that day was how many people complemented Vanessa.  Other Cancer patients, and workers, and even guests.  She was told over and over again how beautiful she was.  And she was beautiful that day.  She was honestly glowing that day, more then I think I have ever seen in the past.  She literally looked like an Angel that day.  The more she was complimented, the more she became confident, and Hopeful.  It was obvious she belonged here.

Finally we were brought back to meet with the consulting Doctor.  Dr. Pablo Parker.  We sat in his office anxiously waiting for him to come in.  I brought a pen and a notepad with me because I wanted to take notes.  I was Hoping we could gain some answers this day, and I didn’t want to miss a single word he had to say.  I also had a list of my own questions, and questions Vanessa needed help remembering. 

 Dr. Parker came into the room and shut the door.  He looked at the both of us and asked “Which one of you is the patient requesting this consult?”  Vanessa raised her hand and smiled and said it was her.  Then he looked at me and asked “What type of Cancer do you have?”  I said “I don’t, I let Vanessa shave my head when she lost her hair, it helped her feel more confident to know I would go through it with her.”  He smiled and understood it was for sympathy and support. He went over Vanessa’s files and then began to speak with us. The first thing out of his mouth was “It looks like you are getting the right treatment so that is good”.  I got scared that he would turn her away because she getting the right chemo treatment so I decided to interject.  I said “She might be getting the right Chemo, but that is all she is getting.  We know nothing about this cancer, what stage she is in, how bad it is, we don’t know what effects the chemo have done to the cancer, we know nothing, we are in the dark”.  Dr. Parker saw my frustration and went over her information with us.

 Vanessa was in Stage 2E… Stage 2 with an Extension to the left lung.  He then also told us that it turned out the tumor had shrank considerably, that it was almost gone and she was well on her way to remission.  That’s right REMISSION!  The word everyone Hopes to hear while fighting Cancer. 

 Vanessa spoke of how much she needed something more then what Arrowhead Regional could offer her, and we both continued to ask questions, and I continued to take notes.  It was such an amazing experience to finally learn something about the Cancer and what was going on with her.  It felt like the weight of the world came off my shoulders and Vanessa also. 

 Finally at the end of the consult Dr. Parker said he would be happy to be Vanessa’s doctor.  He explained to her how the system worked at City of Hope and that he wouldn’t always be able to come and see her for as long as he had with us on that.  He explained doing clinic and that most of the time those appointments were short, but that he would always be happy to explain what was going on.

 Finally we were done, and Vanessa had more Hope then ever.  She was now a patient at one of the countries most respected Cancer centers.  She would now know everything, and she now had the Hope to beat this thing.  We set up her next appointments and then we headed for the car.  It was a long walk, and we both had heals on.  Heals on tired feet.  We both could hardly walk any more.  So when we got to the front of the hospital, we took a couple wheel chairs and wheeled ourselves to the car.. It was a workout on the arms for sure, but the feet needed the break, and it was fun.  It was nice to have some fun. 

We got in the car and headed out for a dinner celebration.  I treated Vanessa to a nice dinner and a couple drinks at the Yard House.  We called her mom and shared the wonderful news that Vanessa was a patient at City of Hope, and the best news of all… she was well on her way to REMISSION!!!!

This was an amazing day.  I will never forget this day, and I will never be ungrateful to Dr. Parker.  He was so kind and I fell in love with him that day.  Dr. Parker is what Vanessa needed.  I mean he was an excellent man.  He provided us with Hope.  What more could we ask for?

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