Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dateline: Little Rock

This will be a quick (for me, meaning 6 paragraphs or so) update. We are now ensconced in a decent apartment which was until very recently occupied by another patient of BB's who has moved two floors up and one room over to a better apartment. Honestly, it's not too bad -- although the guest bedroom has two beds smaller than cots and no window treatments, so it's blinding sunlight in there at 6AM.

We've bought all the sundries we need, and my guitars and recording equipment are set up, as is the PS3 which means the world of Blu-Ray, DVD and videogames has been unlocked. We had sushi last night (surprising good) and barbeque for lunch today (unsurprisingly, awesome).

My friend Ray kindly drove the M6 all the way from LA to here -- a feat which was exhausting but which he admitted was kind of cool, given how nice the car is. I took him out to a nice steak (there are several sources here) and we watched funny movies until the wee hours. Then he was on his way. This was yesterday, Wednesday. After we dropped him off at the airport I stopped by the clinic to do a blood draw (pretty easy -- only six vials this time) and a circular X-ray of my jaw (rotating camera all around me...I felt like I was being filmed for the Matrix 4).

Today was supposed to be nothing to do, except I fought a lot with CIGNA who doesn't want to pay for lodging here. It's ridiculous and counterproductive -- they won't pay for a $3,500 a month apartment, but they'll pay for 6 months in a $3,500 a DAY neutropenic, air-locked hospital room. I'm going to have to spend a fair amount of energy beating the crap out of them, which is unfortunate because I'd rather spend that beating the crap out of cancer. Also, for the first time, some elements of my employer are cracking in their support. They can override any decision CIGNA makes, because they are the payor. CIGNA just administers. But right now, they aren't on the right team. I would hate for them to have to pay 10X as much...I'm really working on them. My friends at Pinnacle Care and CoPay solutions are pissed off and I don't blame them.

I did work this afternoon for a while, which felt good and natural. It's a tough time in this economy, and tough for Disney (though we are positioned better than most media comapnies). I feel bad that I am not able to be there helping out. But I spoke with my boss, who has been great through all of this, and asked to be put back on a project that I was one before I got sick. I have to imagine I can handle a couple of hours a day.

Tonight, we had dinner with Bonnie, BB and BB's wife. It was a terrific time. We got along wonderfully and I was so happy to spend time with them outside the clinical setting. I have total faith that no matter what I'm put through, it will be for a good purpose. I believe BB will cure me.

Also, in the last 36 hours, I've been contacted by three people from 30-41 who were diagnosed and are at various stages -- one is watching, one is about to start treatment, one is about to finish it -- and I have to say it is a wonder to me that people have connected with this journey. We all have a common bond -- whether it be fighting this disease directly, or fighting it with the aid of our family and friends who themselves are connected. I'm so gratified that people are reading, learning, and hopefully drawing inspiration from this. At the same time, I am so very, very thankful for those of you who are following along. Your presence strengthens me. I have no higher compliment to pay.

Tomorrow, I meet with BB in a non-social setting to get randomized and learn where I am and what's about to happen. Maybe I'm sick (mentally)...but I'm ready to commence the ass-kicking that Cancer has asked for.

Lastly...I owe a few of you phone calls. Thank you for your forbearance -- I'll give you a buzz tomorrow.

Take care, everybody. The guy you are backing is about to open fire on what ails him!