Thinking back on this year a number of dates stick out as uniquely memorable – the day we were diagnosed, the day before surgery when we snuck Niko into the hospital, the day we visited Baylor for the class photo, the day we laid on the floor in the bathroom for more than an hour while trying to get to class, the last day of finals, the day Maggie graduated, the day she took the bar, the day MD Anderson called…. There’re quite a few. I’m pleased to add one more – yesterday – the day we passed the bar.
Yesterday afternoon I was taking a pretty darn tough test at school when Maggie called. I had my phone on vibrate despite the ring risk*. I knew the meaning of the call as soon as my pants vibrated. I leaped from my chair and ran out to answer the phone. In my wake borne of haste I no doubt left some furrowed brows of curiosity.
* Ringing (or vibrating) phones during class result in a brief but violent relationship with a hammer. Really. They don’t usually ring again… Ever.
“I passed!” she whispered, matching my hushed tone. “Why are you whispering?” she said next. My follow-up celebratory “whooo hoooo” pretty much ruined the test-silence sanctity I was working to preserve. No doubt someone probably wondered if I won the lottery. I might as well have – the joy in my heart was the same.
I didn’t let her give any details because the clock was ticking on my test but when I came back to the classroom I announced that Maggie had passed the bar. Of course, everyone applauded but quickly returned to their work. I, too, dug back in. It was funny hearing the applause nearly immediately degrade back into the sounds of 23 keyboards typing: clap, clap, clap, tick, tick, tick.
Immediately after the test I rushed out to meet Maggie and her law firm’s staff to celebrate her passing of the bar. They had closed down the office to celebrate. Now how cool is that? It was especially great to finally meet all these wonderful people she’d been talking about. We had a great time.
Later that night, Nurse Jolie, Martha, Flo, Denise, Jason and I went to Eddie V’s to celebrate. Much wine was consumed and many deserts eaten. A fun time was had by all. Afterward, the one sober person at the table (the one studying his casework while trying to eat and highlight) drove the gaggle of giggling girls home. The hilarity continued well into the evening. Everyone was happy. It was a great night.
Today, Maggie had her baseline PET scan to mark the beginning of her new chemo regime. This start-of-treatment scan will help show if the chemo is working by giving us comparison, a line in the sand, to which we can refer in a few months. We’ve got a long way to go but this scan is the only way to tell if we are, for certain, on the right road. Despite our past success, the chances of this new chemo regimen being ineffective are quite real and ordinary…. And extremely unpleasant.
Sadly, I was unable to join her for support during her scan. I absolutely had continue my battle with my oppressive caseload. Despite my feelings of supportive husband inadequacy, I had to stay focused on my studies. I am so thankful that, when I called to tell her I really needed to stay focused on homework instead of be with her during her scan, she happily agreed. I am the luckiest man on Earth. To hell with the lottery.
Meanwhile, we got yet another medical bill collections letter in the mail….