First off I just have to say, praise God, praise God, praise God. People, I have finally made it to Mayo Clinic, Rochester!!!!!!! And again I say, praise God! After many years on this journey of suffering from Ulcerative Colitis, and now the last 6 months of cancer crap-ola, we have been here at the clinic for just one day and I can already see an end to the pain in sight. The idea of living a life of full health has always just been a dream and to say it felt far off is an understatement. At times I have felt I would never know full health again but now, finally, I can feel it and almost even see a date for surgery. I can barely let myself go there for too long without tearing up! Too long have I waited for this time but freedom is close and I’m not letting it go.
Day one at the clinic started off very early at the lovely hour of 5:20… and seeing as I had to fast all food and water after midnight in case of any testing today, trying to wake up with no breakfast or coffee was a bit of a challenge. But as soon as I stepped out into the frigid 13 degree winds and foot of snow, any and all exhaustion was immediately chilled right out of me. I guess I know why they decided to put Mayo all the way up here. Patients have no choice but to stay alert in all this cold!
But luckily we didn’t have to be in the cold for too long because the clinic is only 3 miles from the hotel. (Another blessing for which I am more grateful than I knew I would be!) My first appointment was at 6:45 am. We arrived at the clinic at 6:26 am and got to gather with other patients and watch the doors open at 6:30. After a quick registration, and a little look see around the immaculately pristine lobby and foyer, we headed up to start the day with seeing an oncologist/hematologist and breast surgeon.
Our first appointment was with my oncologist/hematologist and we had to wait a good while before being seen. Apparently the amount of medical charts I have acquired over my life is extensive even for a Mayo patient. All of the doctors were quite impressed which made me wonder whether I should be proud of myself or depressed… Just kidding. But it did take them a good while to look through all of my history before coming to see me.
We spoke with a fellow first and were immediately reminded of why we love Mayo so much. She was very impressive and quickly put us at ease as we became more and more assured of how well she and the other doctors were already grasping the complexity of my case.
After we met with the fellow, we spoke with the doctor and she was wonderful. She seemed to fully understand where we have been, how we were feeling now, and helped show us options to decide where we want to go from here.
Coming here, we knew the cancer was obviously very important to treat but because of how poor my quality of life is right now, everything appears to be headed toward colon removal sooner rather than later. And that is exactly what I was praying for! I am so chained down by Ulcerative Colitis that once that is gone I will be able to not only have more of a life but I’ll be able to battle cancer even harder and kick its butt for good! Then, once my colon is dealt with, we will go back to dealing with the primary site tumor. Right now it looks like the plan may be that I do one more round of chemo so that I will have completed 6 months worth and then move on to possible surgery after that or maybe indefinite hormone suppressant therapy.
So that is the basic outline of what we learned today; HOWEVER, until ALL consultations are finished, NOTHING is definite! Tomorrow morning I meet with a gastroenterologist to talk about where exactly I am with the UC and then I should be done for the day as long as they don’t order any more tests. I’m not getting my hopes up for that too much but a day to rest would be fantastic tomorrow so pray that is the case! After I meet with the gastro doc tomorrow I will then meet with a vascular specialist and colorectal surgeon on Thursday to discuss bleeding risks during surgery (since I’m on blood thinners and have had previous clots) and to discuss my options for type of colon removal. I cannot wait to see what they have to say and hopefully to finally schedule the surgery I have been waiting for, for years!
So, day one of my Mayo adventure is down and while I am exhausted, I could not be more thrilled to be here. I thank God for going before me and preparing the right doctors for us and making sure I can be seen by the right people at the right time. And I pray that will be the case for the rest of my stay! Thank you again and again to you ALL for your support, your financial blessings, your texts, and for all of your many prayers!!!! I would not have been able to make this trip without all of the help and blessings we have received and I truly cannot say thank you enough. I do not have the word to convey how touched I have been by all the love I have felt. My situation is not ideal by any means but I will be forever thankful for how it has allowed me to appreciate and love in a deeper way than I ever would have been able to without having walked through it. It may sound weird but I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
“… and we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love God…” Romans 8:28
P.S. You haven’t really lived until you’ve been at the doctors all day long with the Taylor/Combs clan. Lets just say the phrases “Canadian Honker,” “Hungry Camel,” “Gordo,” and “How birds grow their berries” don’t even begin to give insight into the hilarity of the day… 🙂