Dorothy here, back in Kansas. Glad to have made the trip, and glad to be home.
First off, Akemi and I had a wonderful time together. Her contribution to the Lee family Thanksgiving dinner was to help Jonny set the table. By the time Linda had collected me from the airport, the two college sophomores had a laptop computer open on the dining room table to directions on how to fold dinner napkins origami-style. Each place setting ended up with a different marvelous creation. . .but the rest of the table still needed setting. I was glad there was something left for me to do when I arrived. During the rest of the weekend we enjoyed the cold weather, a delicious Alsatian French dinner with two of Akemi’s good friends, the Ann Taylor 40% sale (really 50% for us Californians because there is no sales tax on clothes in Massachusetts), and Harry Potter in the historic Somerville theater.
I was very proud to see Akemi in action in her Cambridge University Ward on Sunday. The third member of the would-be trio came down sick, so in fine church musician fashion, she and Chad cranked out a completely new number as a violin duet with their ward organist sight reading the accompaniment in the 20 minutes before church started. I raised her well. Then a few minutes before their joint Relief Society/Priesthood meeting started, the young woman who was about to teach the lesson walked up to Akemi to ask if she knew who was going to play the piano, since the regular pianist was away for the holiday weekend. Akemi pointed at me and said, “My mom.” She ended up directing the music and last minute whispered to me, “Don’t take it too fast, Mom.” (Inside joke from the Pasadena Ward, wherein we believe hymns should be taken at brisk Janet Smith tempi.) Their bishop liked the energetic tempi and said the Sisters Leung could do the music together there any time.
All too soon the fun was over, and it was sad for us both to go back to reality on Monday morning – Akemi to the push to semester-end projects and finals, and me to Dana-Farber.
It turns out that Peter Bing has Waldenstrom’s, which explains his support of this clinic, and he apparently is very involved in clinic work in addition to his philanthropy. In order to repeat tests for their own calibrations, to capture where I am right now, and to move the agenda forward, they took 32 vials of blood (yep, 32) and did another bone marrow biopsy. The “wizard” there had me stay over another day to bring in their hematologist who specializes in platelets and coagulation, to get a handle on my platelet/bleeding disorder and its relationship with the lymphoma. These are tests that not even USC Norris and City of Hope would/could run. I was glad I felt somewhat versed in their research and latest publications to understand as much as I did; even so, I scribbled furiously to take notes, figuring I’d look things up and get them explained to me later.
Chemo here is on “pause” until my USC doctor and I get their recommendations. They’ll get the results of these tests pulled together and discuss them among themselves and with my USC doctor and me before the end of next week. Linda took great care of me, shuttling me around, taking me in the extra night, and making sure I had snacks and Tylenol for the flight home. So I’m waiting for the report from Oz, but one thing is for sure: these folks instill confidence, and certainly there are no smoke and mirrors here.