We made it to Seattle. It was beautiful weather, the sun was shining until 9:30pm and Kevin was actually up for a little exploring so we had a lovely time in our brief stay in Seattle.
We visited the Fish Market at Pike’s Place…..Kevin had never been and he was excited to see a them throwing the fish….plus, we bought a wild silver salmon and brought it home. Had our first taste today (Thursday) for lunch….yummmmm!
I suppose though that you are all curious about our appointment, right? We met with Dr. Craig Nichols. He is one of the leading testicular cancer specialists in the world. He told Kevin he was very special. Out of the 8500 people newly diagnosed with testicular cancer each year, only about 100 cases would be considered ‘most complicated’ and that is where Kevin’s case lands. He also explained to us some percentage type of information, but the important thing we learned from that is the odds are much better for Kevin to achieve a full recovery if he is treated at a high volume center.
This can be a bit tricky, since we are insured by Kaiser (HMO). But Dr. Nichols felt like it would be possible for him to at the minimum have surgery at a high volume center. On the west coast there are two places that would fit this category: Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington and USC. Clearly USC would be closer and more convenient, but at the same time, if we can go to the best……why not? We still have a few days to think about it and talk it through a bit and really understand exactly how many appointments we would have to go to if we were to chose to have the surgery at Virginia Mason vs. USC. But at this point, our hearts are really leading us to having the surgery at Virginia Mason in Seattle. University of Stanford, and San Francisco were potential options but we did not spend much time talking about them. Virginia Mason sees a good majority of the high risk cases annually.
This week Kevin will return to CMH in Ventura on Monday for his 4th and final round of VIP chemotherapy. The plan will be to be rechecked and watch his tumor marker levels over the next month then reconvene via conference with Dr. Nichols and if everything is continuing to progress in the right direction, surgery will be following shortly thereafter. We ask for your prayers for an easy week for Kevin this week, and for our request to go outside of Kaiser to be met with approval and not a huge fight.
If you’d like to hear more about our adventures….keep reading….if not….thanks for stopping by 🙂 (no hurt feelings…honest!)
So we decided not to get a rental car in Seattle since the hotel charged $39 per day to park and they offered a complimentary driver to some areas and most of the city is accessible via taxi for $10 or less. The challenge was going to be getting to and from the airport. Amazing how God continues to take care of us through this whole ordeal! A few days before we left we got a message from a friend (Jeremy Denton) saying he had a former co-worker/friend living in Seattle if we would need anything while we were there….so I asked if maybe he’d take us to the hotel when we arrived….and guess what….he said yes! Thanks so much Ryan Holiday. The ride was so appreciated and Kevin looks forward to being able to spend some time with Ryan and seeing some more fire related sites in Seattle!
The first evening we were in Seattle we kind of thought we’d be tired and eat at the hotel or at least nearby, but it was a beautiful night and we just really wanted to go down by the water. Kevin was feeling so much stronger on Monday than he was last week, that PE must be breaking up because even though he requires oxygen to do a lot of activity, when he does limited activity he doesn’t need it. So no oxygen necessary for walking around the house, but oxygen is needed for walking much more than from one room to another. We brought a wheelchair along, but didn’t realize how hilly Seattle could be. So we ended up using the wheelchair in the airport both ways, but just sticking with the oxygen and walking for other activities.
We decided to venture down by the water to the Crab Pot restaurant. It was a beautiful night, still light out until after 9:30pm and we got to sit outside by the water. I conceded to not bring the wheelchair if we just got dropped at the door and if he used the oxygen. We had a great date and then did walk around just a bit near by the restaurant with lots of breaks to rest. It was so lovely.
Tuesday morning was the day we went to Pike’s Place. We had breakfast down there and then explored the shops a bit. Headed back to the hotel for a short rest before the big appointment. After the appointment we took another rest. Then we decided to take a taxi to Ballard. This is primarily settled by Norweigens and the port of call for majority of the boats from the “deadliest Catch”, funny none of our Ethiopian cab drivers were familiar with the show. This is a little further away…a $25 cab ride…but we wanted to see the fish ladder. We checked the website and confirmed the hours and then decided to go for it. Got dropped off with a short walk to the water. On the walk we see the sign…..a dreaded sign saying fish ladder closed for renovations until May 23rd. Unfortunately, the taxi was now long gone……so we walked down to the water anyways and checked out the locks. That was pretty cool.
Then we walked back up to town looking for somewhere to eat….not finding much of anything. Considered calling a cab and then we saw the city bus. We thought we were up for an adventure so we hopped on the bus to head back toward downtown. Well a bus definitely, does not take a direct route and Kevin thought the ride was ‘from hell’. He doesn’t ride busses very often 🙂
We finally made it to an area that had some restaurants so we got off the bus, walked until we found a restaurant that looked good. Side note we had been on the hunt for Seattles BEST ice cream, we were told on Monday night it would be “Molly Moons”, but they would have been closed when we got picked up around 9:30. This is bad information. Molly Moon’s is so popular that all 6 locations are open till 11pm …everyday. They also frequently have lines past that time according to rumor. So we thought we would go there after dinner.
So little did we know, the bus from hell dropped us off one city block from our destination of Molly Moon’s. We were unaware, just hungry. If Kevin does not eat often enough he suffers a hunger headache. we found a mexican restaurant bar, and it had the Clipper game on, that was all we needed. after we ate, we had a cab hailed for us and drove to Molly Moons…. imagine the surprise when we realized #1 how close to our hotel we were (less than 10 blocks), and #2 the ice cream shop was packed with such a line we did not even get out of the cab. Now Kevin has something to look forward to on his next trip to Seattle.
So we return to hotel and had a scoop of vanilla ice cream at hotel bar, not the same. Next morning we were picked up by Uncle Wil and Aunt Victoria. They drove us to CJ’s Eatery a great breakfast spot home of a mountain size cinnamon roll, and great pancakes. The skinny swedish kind.
We had a nice time catching up then a quick trip to the airport. We go thru the Airport check in with TSA. Well with a handicap or wheelchair you get a little more attention they want you through the line quicker. Kevin does not enjoy the security checks and has had very negative experiences with TSA in the past. (ever since he attempted to carry on hollow point bullets, he’s been on the ‘watch list’.) So as I get ready to get everything scanned Kevin is wheeled up to the full body scanner, he removed his shoes and belt. He was asked to step in the full body scanner, like he had previously in LA, its only a 3 second scan and he was determined to be fine. Anyways, if you haven’t traveled lately, you step into a tube like thing. There are yellow footprints on the floor where you stand and then you put your hands up over your head. The guy tells Kevin to put his hands up…(Kevin used to get to say that a lot Put your hands up, not so much any more) As the scanner starts to rotate, his hands go up and his shorts go down. The whole way down. To the floor. I see this out of the corner of my eye….stunned, wishing my phone wasn’t already on the conveyor belt so I could share this memory with all of my friends…. Kevin said he wanted to immediately reach for his shorts, but he was afraid they were gonna shoot him. So he froze temporarily while thousands of TSA agents and travelers looked in in fear. Pretty sure this is an experience no one will forget!
So we leave you, hopefully, with a smile.
And a little inspiration passed on by a friend (thanks, Robin Aiden!)
“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it is going to launch you into something great.”