Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When Cancer Rocks!

Oh dear! Where to begin? So much has transpired since I last did an update. We went to my April 29th appointment and had to endure a two hour wait to find out that I am a partial responder. It’s a mix of great news and not so great news. It’s great that the spots on my lungs and collarbone have completely disappeared! The Interleukin 2 worked on those! The not so great part news is that the tumor on my inner thigh is growing and I have a new spot that has shown up on my Coccyx bone. What does a person do with a mix like that? Hang on to the good news in a white knuckle grip, and don’t let up in the slightest way. It’s  not easy.

I’ll find out later this week what’s in store for me in the near future. Most likely it’ll be another set of Interleukin 2. Though an alternative was mentioned in the last meeting with my oncologist. It’s a new drug called Yervoy, recently approved by the FDA. The thing about Yervoy is, it costs $120,000.00 for four doses and it isn’t covered by most insurance companies; certainly not Blue Cross, Blue Shield. What’s a Cancer-ite to do?

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to completely forget about the whole thing and go on a 16 day rock and roll tour with the person I love the most! I wouldn’t call it vacation at all, for all you touring musicians out there, you know what I mean; but I got to play my most favorite music with my most favorite person, see places I’ve never been to before and meet new people who were incredibly nice; whom I’m sure that in the future I will become good friends with.

Day one of tour was a doozy! Dan and I took a plane (which they almost bumped us off of) to NY where we met Tony and Mat at our connecting flight to Barcelona, Spain. Once the plane touched down the four of us taxied to the car rental place where we picked up a Chrysler Voyager van. Our new home for the next 15 days. Thank god for Mat, being the only person out of us that could drive stick shift. He braved the crazy roundabouts buzzing with cars, bicyclists, pedestrians and wild motorcyclists; and gave Tony his first stick shift driving lesson in the parking lot of a rest stop in somewhere in France.

If you’d like to get an idea of what it was like driving in Europe, you can start viewing this footage from the 2 minute in mark: 

 Driving Footage:

We picked up rented amps and headed out for our first show in Lyon, France 6 hours away.

The show was at a place called Grrnd Zero, a kind of school type building taken over by an artist community. It was a great space, and had a great crowd. Three songs in, Dan’s amp gave up the ghost, and I gave my amp to Dan and became a member of the audience. It was a great show and the crowd went wild!  Two different stage dancers were involved in the wildness, ending with the remaining amp teetering, ready to plummet off of the chair, as the last dancer was manhandled off the stage.

After the show Dan and I went out for a walk. We wanted to see Lyon, even at 2:30 am when nothing was open, and it looking a bit dangerous. We were physically exhausted and I unfortunately started thinking a bit too much about my mortality, and ended up having an all night break down of crying hysterics. We shut ourselves in the room our Grrnd Zero host made up for the band, 4 beds on the floor made up with clean sheets and pillows; it was very sweet of them to take such care. I felt bad about Tony and Mat, they had no idea what the matter was and it must have freaked them out a great deal, being the first night of the tour and all. They must have thought “15 days of hysterics looming ahead?  YIKES!”  I was able to reign it in that morning as we scrambled to work the French computer keyboard so Tony could make ferry reservations to Dover, UK. Once on the ferry I begin to feel great, and appreciated all the new experiences. I must say that traveling and eating road food is quite a large leap from road food here in the states. It’s so much fresher, varied, and at one road stop they had fresh Cous Cous and roast ham with fresh vegetables. Truly amazing!

In London we stayed with Dan’s parents, and got to meet Dan’s new nephew Hugo for the first time. So cute!  We were able to take some time to walk through the South Bank and go to the Tate Modern, which was fantastic as usual.

With the White Cliffs of Dover behind us, it was a great blur of Belgium, Germany, France, and lastly Spain. Great music, great people, great sights! I’m really glad we did it!

It was a whirlwind of travel challenges, and I made it unscathed. 16 days of planes, long van rides, staying up late, sweating bullets on stage, and eating mainly gas station food. If I can make it through that I can make it through a few weeks of drug drips, injections, needle pricks, peeling dried up skin, and freezing shakes. It’ll be old hat!

1 comment:

  1. I must say I think I'd prefer touring with all its attendant miseries to chemo!!!!
    Go sh it's been so long since I toured - I'm quite envious while still being very happy for you!