Friday, December 5, 2014

Day 2 at CTCA

This morning was filled with more appointments at Cancer Treatment Center of America.  We are still in love.   I think it's an alternate universe and for some reason, the door into it has opened for us.

I knew we were lucky to get in, but I'm gaining a new appreciation of just how much of a miracle it is to be there.  I thought that only 40% of their patients could be from Georgia but we found out yesterday it's just 35%.  Also, I have heard a number of examples of people who wanted in, but couldn't because the quota had already been met. They should have kept trying.  We didn't make the November cut, but we made it in December.  We only had to wait a couple of weeks - just in time for Round 2.

Another reason we are blessed is that CTCA is right here in our backyard -  minutes from our house.  Most patients have to travel to get here.  CTCA makes it fairly easy for out of town patients. They set up all the travel arrangements and they pick patients up at the airport.  Still, those patients are away from home.  If Rudy had had to travel, I might have had a hard time talking him into giving it a try.  Anyone who knows him, knows that the man hates to leave home.  Knowing what we know now, I'd say it's DEFINITELY worth traveling.  Even Rudy would recommend it.

Another miracle is that the Newnan CTCA was built just in time for Rudy.  I know that's silly.  It's helping many other people - around 2000 at any given time, but it feels like it was built and made ready just for Rudy.  It was meant to be and we feel truly blessed.

My Current Favorite Quote

We met some wonderful patients today.  Cancer patients seem to have an incredible clarity about life and what's important. They almost have a different look about them.  A few of the patients we met today were young - in their 20's. Age didn't matter. They had that same clarity.  They were all kind and positive and patient. They move slower and not just because they are sick.  I really can't imagine anything more rewarding than working with these people.  I told Rudy that he, too, seemed to have that look.  He has changed.  I don't like the disease, but I like the new Rudy. We are closer than we've ever been.  Unexpectedly, we are really happy, too.

The doctors and nurses we saw today were top notch and very positive. CTCA really seems to attract the best staff.   The pulmonary specialist showed us our scan and took us thru it, bit by bit, explaining everything.  We had never seen the actual scans before.  Out in "the real world", they just don't show patients very much.

The Mind-Body doctor was very good and Rudy was really taken by lots of what the doctor had to say.  The Mind-Body specialist makes sure patients understand how being happy, even in the midst of a gloomy situation, can increase the odds of a good outcome.  CTCA has lots of tools and resources to help patients stay happy.  There's something for everyone.  Everyone at CTCA buys into this idea.  In fact, I'd say it's at the center of everything they do.  It's why everyone is so happy and nice.  They know how important it is for their patients.

When we were leaving the cafeteria today, Rudy went out slightly ahead of me.  He had to wait a minute and a nurse he'd never met saw him.  Rudy smiled at her and she walked over and gave him a big hug.  Rudy loved it.  He talked about it several times thru the evening.  That woman really moved him.  As we walked out, he said he had no doubt he was going to do well.  It only takes a moment to connect and have a profound effect on someone.  Why don't we all do that more often?