Follow-up Travel Travails

20 Mar

This last week, we traveled to Houston for Susie’s cancer follow-up at MD Anderson’s Brain and Spine Center. This is the first time, since the pandemic started, we’ve physically met with Dr. O’Brien (her neuro-oncologist). Actually it has been even longer, as Dr. O’Brien was out on maternity leave at Susie’s last appointment in 2019.

I simply did not want to risk exposing Susie to Corona Virus. So her cancer appointments were with Texas Oncology of Austin. I setup a dual care relationship at the beginning of Susie’s recurrence. Mostly, I wanted someone I could locally work with if Susie needed immediate care, such as in the hospital, while having deep expertise and clinical trial access from MD Anderson.

Susie had her second vaccine shot at the beginning of March. She tolerated the vaccine well. However I had mixed feelings about this trip, mostly because I noticed Susie’s balance/ gait had changed. Also her right leg was weaker, especially at the end of taking a shower. I think Susie was also nervous, as neither of us slept well the night before her appointments. It didn’t help the weather has been wacky in Texas and a storm front was coming in that morning.

Like previous road trips, I created a bed in the back of our car, and Susie snoozed most of the way. The appointment seemed to go well, but I noticed as the day progressed Susie’s ability to understand deteriorated. This happens when she is very tired, especially after we fly somewhere. I noticed the decline was more pronounced when we got home, 12 hours later. While I would like to say it was all better the next day, her use of the smart phone and other things have not completely resolved. On a positive note, she seems to improve with each day.

I don’t know what the above experience means for us taking future trips. We were thinking about joining our youngest in Washington in the Fall and our eldest for Thanksgiving. I also have been invited to be on a panel at the next Society of Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Annual Meeting in Boston.

Susie at Hruska’s Bakery on St. Patrick’s Day

What a way to spend St. Padraig’s Day – Sláinte!