The highlight of the trip (yes, I’m announcing it even though the trip is nowhere near complete) was getting to see Dr. Anderson today.
After my appointment with Dr. Wolff (read that entry first if you haven’t already), we were waiting for my schedule for the next two days. While waiting, I was told that Dr. Anderson wanted to come out and say hello. And of course we were happy to wait.
It was great to see him when he walked through the door. Though he was part of some of the toughest times of my life, he was also part of what allowed me to survive and move on to some of the best times of my life. So I have nothing but incredible admiration for the man.
Dr. Anderson has become a great partner and friend of Dr. Wolff. Together they push the edge of cancer treatment, and it was amazing to hear what he’s been up to in recent years. The horrific experiences I had with chemotherapy… spending 5 days vomiting in the hospital receiving the drug, followed by 5 days vomiting at home, followed by a few days back in school before starting the cycle over again… those are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Dr. Anderson is pushing those treatments into outpatient treatments. Kids now go in to receive the drugs and get to leave that day to be comfortable in their own homes each night. Very cool. This makes the thought of additional treatments that much easier to accept. I remember a time where the thought of recurring cancer made me think I would never agree to do chemotherapy again. Now the thought of it isn’t quite as frightening.
Dr. Anderson also informed me that I’m the longest living survivor in the United States of the samarium treatment that I went through at Mayo Clinic. I’m second in the world. Not bad! Honestly, it made me feel a bit of pride. And all the more reason I was happy to get to see Dr. Anderson… we went through it all together.
Perhaps the best part of it all was one simple fact that made the whole “waiting two months for another MRI” so much easier to accept. I had mentioned my concern about sitting around doing nothing for two months, and Dr. Anderson reminded me… that’s the difference between high- and low-grade tumors. With high-grade (like the bone cancer I’ve had), you need to act quickly to remove it. But with low-grade, we have the ability to consider all options and then decide which ones will affect my quality of life the most, and respond accordingly. It was another example of just how talented this guy is.
Finally, he had a camera with him. And so we got to take a photo of the two of us. I’ll share it as soon as he sends it along.
Thanks, Dr. Anderson.