If you are looking for the update on the doctor consultation at Kaiser in LA (Sunset) here is the short version.
We had a consultation with an oncologist at the Kaiser facility in Los Angeles. This is the ‘mecca’ for Kaiser. The place where the best that Kaiser has to offer is found. A few reasons why we went there: all the specialists that could potentially need to be consulted for Kevin after we finish the first four rounds of chemotherapy will be there, if he started having his chemotherapy there now, all the records of his treatment would be in the Kaiser system making future consultations and continuity of care potentially better, as we get to the ‘next steps’ it may be helpful to have the specialists already involved in Kevin’s case.
The oncologist we met with is not necessarily a specialist in Kevin’s type of cancer. She is a general oncologist and she was fine. She didn’t think it was necessary to have chemo in LA as we would get the same medication in LA or Ventura. We did talk about benefits of having specialists there and some of the things we talked about made it seem like there would be about an even number of benefits and concerns either way we went. Ultimately, it is up to us where Kevin would like to have his next 2 rounds of chemo. We are currently planning to just continue with the chemo here in Ventura, but start meeting with some of the specialists who may need to be involved in his future care in Los Angeles.
If you would also like some entertainment….here is the rest of the story.
On Sunday, the SBCFFA held their annual charity association fundraiser. Kevin was honored to be the recipient of the funds from this year’s event. Unfortunately, as Kevin has just gotten done with 5 days of chemotherapy, he was not physically up for the activity of attending the event in person. He desperately wanted to be there so we set up Skype to allow him to say hi to everyone and see what was going on up there. This was awesome to be able to be there from afar. He spent about an hour socializing and was so wiped out from this that he needed a 3 hour nap. He woke up in time to log back in and watch the final table and see the winner of the tournament….Congratulations to Jerome James…the bigger winner!
I think that everyone he talked to all day, he asked about the food. How was the chicken and tri-tip?
Kevin anxiously awaited his Dad’s visit to the house because he was going to bring some goodies from the event…….but alas, no chicken or tri-tip appeared. He had been salivating ALL day over the idea of BBQ and when the family arrived with the tasty desserts…he appreciated the treats, but still had his heart set on chicken and tri-tip.
In the meantime, Monday morning Kevin had an appointment at Kaiser in LA at 9:30am. We had been debating continuously if we were going to go spend the night Sunday so it would not be a fight in LA traffic on Monday morning, or if we would brave the early morning. My concern was that one or two hours of sitting up tends to really wipe Kevin out. Driving in to LA would be long in the morning and then he had two appointments (9:30 & 11:10am) and that would require plenty of ‘activity’ for him in his current condition. I knew it was going to be a lot for him. Really too much. Finally, after much thought and consideration I decided, if for nothing other than my own sanity, we would go down on Sunday. I looked at several websites for places to stay and called a friend of mine familiar with the area. I finally decided that for the ‘budget’ type of place I was looking fo,r it may be better to drive down there and then decide where to stay. This would have been perfect…except we got a late start.
After Kevin’s disappointment at not having chicken & tri-tip we got in the car to head to LA. He decided a chipotle burrito would be what he needed. So we stopped at Chipotle in Ventura at 9pm on a Sunday…kind of shocked they were still open and he got a burrito with chicken and steak to fill the void.
We had a very nice ride into LA. Not too much traffic until we got to the 405 and there was some construction. It made me even more grateful to go down the night before.
We didn’t really know where we were going, so we followed the GPS….kind of. We knew that the hospital was Sunset, so when we got to the 405 and Sunset, instead of continuing on the 405 to the 10 (as the GPS said) we decided to get off at Sunset. It was a fun ride through Beverly Hills and Hollywood…and as we got closer to Kaiser area Kevin realized we were close to…..
Ok…..I have to admit. I was tired. I wanted to go to bed. I could just hear Kevin’s mom and dad’s voices in my head with the fact that here is was 11pm….we are in an area that was slightly sketchy and we actually didn’t have a place to stay…and we were stopping for another meal! OMG….but it’s what he wanted. So we went and Kevin enjoyed his waffles…and we both had some chicken. Then we got back in the car. I had a few hotels that I had previously looked at that had decent reviews so we were on a quest. It was almost midnight. I had called my favorite place to see if I could get a read on how it would be….but the person who answered the phone let me know that they were sold out. The first place we stopped had about 20 people from the Phillippines. With their passports. It seemed as though they may have just gotten off the cruise ship. Kevin was worried about the Norovirus. The hotel itself looked like it was just remodeled, but the activity in the lobby was odd…..I waited for about 15 minutes, and then finally decided maybe it wasn’t the right place for us. We moved on to the next hotel/motel. It has a locked front door with a bell for ‘late night’ access. I rang the bell 3 times….no answer.
We continued our quest….I was beginning to understand what it was like for Joseph & Mary as they searched for a place to lay their weary heads. We stopped at a super 8. Looked ‘ok’….but SOLD OUT.
Found this place….Hollywood City Inn. 1.3 miles from Kaiser and they had one room available. On the second floor. No elevator. So we got Kevin’s oxygen out. Cranked up the flow…..and had him work on his PT for the day. Climbing the flight of stairs. The room was very clean and very nice. I was pleased. Kevin’s tummy was full and he fell right to sleep….for the duration of the night. We didn’t have to get up too early and there was continental breakfast, plus some leftover chicken from Roscoe’s, so we had breakfast covered.
We leave a little before 9 for our 9:30 appointment 1.3 miles away. We had no trouble finding the building, but of course…the parking garage was closed to staff only. We drove around the block several times, asking people for direction to where we could park. Finally, found out that the parking for our building was 0.3 miles away. We parked, got Kevin in the wheelchair and headed off to the Kaiser buildings. Trying to navigate through the buildings we found ourselves in a dead end. Luckily, we were told there was a shuttle. We were now already late for our appointment and the shuttle to take us around the long, long city block was going to be about 15-20 minutes. We were waiting for awhile until another Kaiser concierge came by. She offered to help us navigate through the construction, the back way, to the appointment. It was about a 45 degree incline for 0.3 miles….Thanks Bree….I was almost prepared for that! Ultimately, we were 20 minutes late to the appointment. But thankfully, the oncologist still saw us.
We made it through the appointments. Decided to take the flatter route back to the parking garage. As we get around the block…we see an ambulance and a ladder truck parked outside of the building. He wanted me to take him up closer to take pictures…I asked if I really had to push him up the hill past the crosswalk we needed to cross to get to the car….and he said no…and JUMPED out of the wheelchair and headed up the hill to take his own photos. I was worried…but decided if he fell…the firefighter’s would be picking him up…..thankfully….he didn’t fall…this time.
But he did get this:
Worth it, Right?
Bottom line is this: Kevin has 2 more rounds of chemo to start. We don’t know what will be after that. There will be some type of treatment for his brain: surgery? radiation? There may be additional treatment for the cancer in his lymphnodes, retroperitoneal cavity, lungs. It could be higher dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant? could be surgery? could be ????? but for now.. we know that he needs a minimum of 2 more rounds of the current chemotherapy. So we will be completing those in Ventura, meeting new doctors in LA and keeping our options open….and probably visiting Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles again in the near future.
Thank you to all who attended the poker tournament. We are humbled, honored, speechless at the support we have received. Thank you to those who continue to bless us with meals, prayer, and other gifts of time, talent, money, love etc. We could never get through this without you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
With love and gratitude,