Tomorrow morning I fly to Boston, and I feel as if I’m off to see the Wizard.
Much thought, effort, and preparation have gone into getting this consultation set up with this doctor at Harvard’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the team at their Bing Center for Waldenstrom’s Research. Earlier this summer, when I was first becoming familiar with the Dana-Farber expertise in Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia, I learned that the Bing name came from Dr. Peter S. Bing, former chair and current trustee of Stanford, who made a major gift in 2005 to this center. Back in the early 1980s, when Stanford had a Southern California Stanford Alumni Association, our Bing served on its board. Some of my Paul Hastings friends dominated the board, and they enlisted him to represent a younger – and non-lawyer – constituency. Peter Bing was a regular at the Stanford events down here (I’m sure he still is) and he started to recognize Bing, always graciously chatting with him and me. Somewhere I’ve saved a letter from Dr. Bing to our Bing, thanking him for organizing some event, and adding his P.S. that they have much in common besides their name. I don’t know what Dr. Bing’s connection is to WM or the work at Dana-Farber (I’ll ask if I get the chance), but I took it as a good sign.
So I’ve got my platelet levels and prognostis factors charted, my history (including my dad’s and Bing’s) summarized, my questions typed up, my records sent. But before I get to the consultation, Akemi and I will have weekend filled with her 20th birthday dinner (where did that teenager go?), the Harry Potter movie, and hot chocolate at Burdick’s in Cambridge. I get to hear her play in a violin trio in the Cambridge University Ward on Sunday, and then Linda, my best friend from law school, will deliver me to Dana-Farber by dawn’s early light on Monday.
Like Dorothy, I’m taking with me the benefit of brains, heart, and courage from others. And just as Dorothy discovered important things about herself along the yellow brick road, I’ve learned things about myself these past few months. I’d like to click my heels three times and have this whole WM business go away, but I’m counting on getting answers in the Emerald City and learning even more. And we’re off. . .
P.S. February 7, 2011: Found the letter! So here it is.