Yes, boys and girls, it’s time for another installment of the exciting saga “Garth’s Seemingly Endless Good News/Bad News Unfunny Joke.”
In this eventful episode, there’s both good news and bad news galore. Giant watertanks full of news. Here are some highlights.
First the good news. The fundraising worked well. Let me reiterate my ginormous thank yous to everyone who contributed to the GoFundMe, attended Party On, Garth!, volunteered to work at the party, bought stuff in the silent auction, helped me find grants, etcetera. I raised enough so that with the help of IHSS I could offer decent pay for my caregivers and still have a few bucks left over to complete my recovery at home.
More good news. I actually found caregivers. I think I have the perfect team. The odd thing about it is how I found them. I tried word of mouth. I tried our local email Listserve. I tried listing the position on job boards at nursing schools and community colleges all over northern California. Crickets. I was getting frustrated. A little light bulb went on over my head. “Isn’t there a local jobs group on Facebook?”, I said to myself. I posted there. I not only got queries from the two perfect caregivers, but a few others who would have been just fine, too. So now, the team just needs to clear the bureaucratic shenanigans.
Even more good news. The last standing obstacle to my transplant was my much-needed oral surgery. This should be icky but routine. However, oral surgeons who take Medi-Cal are few, far between, and booked solid for many months. I’ve been trying to get this work done since well before the leukemia diagnosis. I got a referral to the UCSF Dental Clinic. They were supposed to call me. They didn’t. I called them. Many, many times. No human being has ever picked up the telephone at the UCSF Dental Clinic. No human being has ever returned a call at the UCSF Dental Clinic. In fact, the UCSF Dental Clinic consists entirely of an answering machine.
But this was good news, right? Well, one of the doctors at UCSF referred me to the dental clinic at University of the Pacific, which is also in SF. At least they answer their fucking telephone. I’m confident I’ll be able to get the work done in an expeditious manner.
But… the bad news. I went to UCSF for yet another bone marrow biopsy. I’m no longer in remission. Evil blast cells are at 11%. Fuck. FUCK. FUCK!!
What does this mean? Well, first, I have to be in remission to get the transplant. I was offered three options to get back into remission.
There is a pill for folks in this circumstance. I would take it for four months, which would completely screw up my caregiving plans. The success rate for this treatment is a completely pathetic 10%. Well, fuck that.
There is a high intensity chemotherapy option. It’s called Flag. We’ve been trying to avoid this option the whole damn time, as it’s a super strong chemo with lots of nasty side effects. It’d require a month-long hospitalization, starting ASAP. At least it has better-than-even odds of actually working, and one month might not fuck up the caregiving thang beyond repair.
There’s a clinical trial, which my doctor thought I might be eligible for. But, she didn’t know much about it, so it’s hard to say if it’s a good possibility for quick remission, or if I’m even eligible for the trial.
I’m getting really, really tired of this roller coaster ride, but there’s nothing to do but keep on soldiering on…