Long and Winding Road

Today was the day! Our first trip to Dana Farber Cancer Institute. But first….a lovely but high anxiety weekend. Bill and Carla came for dinner and we had a great walk to Farmer’s Daughter and back, via the Italianate Garden behind the library, followed by a pit fire in the back yard. Yes, that time of year has finally arrived!! Halleluiah!! Sunday brought more walking and talking through the Governor Ames estate. Trees are blooming, water flowing and signs of life everywhere. So why am I so blue? It’s the hard that’s getting me— to transition away from the people and place that have taken care of me for so long and take the giant leap into the unknown. It just means a lot of anxiety all around even though I know intellectually this is right. It is, for me, life or death. I have to pick up my sticks, buckle in and launch into my future, whatever that is. Trust me, Tim is expert at “managing” me, and with that and some Ativan we were off.

First we muddled our way through Beth Israel to pick up the CDs of all my scans, head to DFCI registration and sign many forms including my health proxy—good luck Tim, I wish you the best on that. They made me put a locator badge on my collar so that they could find me anywhere in the center. Kinda like the chip they put in dogs in case they go missing. I asked if they had, in fact, lost a lot of people but she didn’t seem to think so. Then they uploaded my CDS, handed them back and we were off to the 9th floor. Very Zen like—quiet, peaceful, kind of feminine with coffee and tea. Whooshing doors, joined two more research studies and voila! My new person appeared accompanied by a nurse. Dr. F seemed absolutely lovely. Soothing, reassuring and most of all, positive. She rubbed my back, touched my hand, listened hard, answered all our questions and for the first time, we both felt a sense of hopefulness and optimism. She knew and reminded me of my first oncologist, Dr. B. who went through all the really hard stuff with me before leaving for a life of research. This is where I need to be. I loved her. And…. when she said she would handle telling my current grumpy oncologist that I was breaking up with him, I wanted to kiss her. She said she hoped for a long and winding road with me–of course there will be bumps but hopefully I won’t fall off a sharp corner. She wrote blood work orders, took me on as “hers” , promised to do her homework–getting my actual tissue samples from Beth Israel and a few other things, and would see me in two weeks unless anything happened that needed attention before then. She spent a lot of time with us. It was good. Treatment stays the same for now–Pablocyclib and Letrozole. Blood counts headed south but not bad yet.

Next we headed for lunch to process and discuss–we both felt the same way and agreed with the decision to jump ship. Tim loved her too. We are back in working business, Yay! It was hard getting there but feels right–that is all I could ask for. I have a new person, my person.

Tim’s song: “Fields of Gold”, Sting

Love from the monkey house,

Barbara and Tim


  1. So glad you’ve found a new “best doctor”. That can make all the difference. I can tell from your words that you feel encouraged.
    Hoping and praying daily that the next results are positive and that you don’t have to go through too much shit! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Barbara!
    We don’t actually know each other. My friend Evelyn is friends with one of your daughters, started reading your blog and recommended it to me. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer last June and am currently part of a Palbociclib trial. Additionally, I am very familiar with the 9th floor at DFCI:-) I wish you well on your journey and have really enjoyed the Grace and humor with which your write. Thinking of you and if you’d ever like to chat, please feel free to email me. Best wishes!! Beth

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara and Tim, I am so glad you are over at the DFCI! I was hoping it would work out. For now, I take my mother-in-law in every Thursday, so if that is your appointment day, let me know. My car goes there automatically at this point, so I would be happy to accompany you…anytime!! Make sure you check out the Garden Room on the 3rd Floor. A quiet sanctuary, so pretty and peaceful. Lots of love!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Barbara,
    I’m so glad you found such a great oncologist, and that you love and trust her. It seems so important when embarking on a long journey to be in the company of trusted fellow travelers.

    Your hope, courage, and sense of humor continue to inspire me with each reading of these chronicles.

    Liked by 1 person

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