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If I launch my description of our three days in San Francisco, by telling you that it cost forty dollars per car, per night, to park in the hotel garage, you might think I was going to slant the trip in a negative direction, but that would be inaccurate. There were some extremely high points which left me feeling the plan to mix pleasure with medical business, had been a good one.
To begin Lito joined Annie and me, driving down in V’s car so that we could better maneuver around in the City, while we drove down in the Triple-G. * Lito never gets too high or too low; he’s the perfect traveling companion. Annie was doing great on the outside, regardless of what might be going on in the inside. We were in San Francisco in the first place because Annie was about to conclude the initial steps of the treatment she has been receiving for thyroid cancer.
This final process had been in the works since last April, when she had her thyroid removed, and involved her ingesting a radioactive pill, designed to kill the cancer cells remaining after the thyroid was gone. The delay was caused by the fact that the radiation could not be administered until after the medication for the original kidney cancer had run its course.
We had an eleven o’clock appointment on Monday morning, where Annie was to receive the first of two injections, in preparation for the radiation pill on Wednesday. There was an hour’s delay, while the nurse called to verify that Annie’s insurance would cover the cost. When we inquired as to what that might be, she said softly, “$4,000.00.” When you consider that she needed the identical injection the next day, that was a cool eight thousand. Before Annie could get too stressed, the nurse brought the good news.
Upon leaving the appointment, we hooked up with Lito and planned our itinerary. Because V had been sweet enough to lend us her car, and because Lito adapts well, we were soon tooling around quite comfortably. We were lost, mind you, but not skeered. Lito had the reigns of our chariot firmly in hand when we stumbled up to the top of Twin Peaks, where I had a good cry because I had left my camera in the hotel room.
I’ve been to the City a million times but never made it up to Twin Peaks. The most stunning panorama awaits the end of the climb, even for those who were not looking for it. We got out and joined the rest who were taking in the view, maybe easing down to the end of the parking area, so that I could seek a little medicinal sustenance. That meant that Annie felt compelled to sidle away from us. Every time. We tried to explain that in San Francisco, pursuing mental equilibrium, was as common and natural as breathing. She wasn’t buying it.
After leaving Twin Peaks, we made our way to the zoo, even though there was only an hour left, and enjoyed ourselves immensely, admiring among others, the tigers, giraffes, rhinos, a bear (the grizzlies were hiding), and the most stately of Silverback Gorillas that we could have imagined. The zoo was very dignified and peaceful.
For dinner we made our way around the corner of our hotel to Victor’s Italian food, and it was marvelous. Lito and I had an Alfredo sauce over seafood, and even Annie, who has been on the most restrictive of diets, had an order of chicken wings. We had a carafe of the house burgundy and afterwards, retired to the hotel bar, where we watched the Chicago Bears defeat the Green Bay Packers. Anytime I see the Pack lose, it warms the cockles of my heart, even if it cost nine bucks apiece for Jameson on the rocks. Order two drinks, and you may as well have gone across the street to BevMo, and bought a bottle. It would have cost the same, but who was keeping track?
Tuesday was highlighted by several hours of wandering around Fisherman's Wharf, eating in a nice place, and ending back in the hotel room for cocktails and a nap. We ate at Mel's Diner that night, but if you can believe this, Mel leaves the apostrophe out of his diner's name. It confuses me. Nonetheless, I recovered enough to enjoy a classic cheeseburger, while Annie splurged and ordered a half-chicken with some tasty veggies.
Wednesday was all business, but we gained some very positive information, after the medical staff had performed a complete body scan and determined that the radiation pill was to be a lot smaller than it could have been. This meant at least two things: there were fewer cancer cells to be destroyed and that Annie’s period of isolation after the procedure, would be “only” three days as opposed to seven. After having had a CT scan only ten days ago which declared Annie kidney cancer-free, and believing that the radiation treatment will render her thyroid cancer-free, we are feeling pretty buoyant.
As I reflect back to the passion and energy that Annie mustered up for the Relay-for-Life in July, I am grateful beyond words for this most recent news. In our own most personal relay-for-life, we are one step closer to good health for Annie.
We’ll add another ribbon to the banner next July, when we participate in the festivities surrounding a community's efforts to stamp out cancer and support those who are affected by this formidable opponent. Relay-for-Life rocks!
* So-named when Lito drove this awesome vehicle in Sacramento, where he dubbed it the “grocery-go-getter” or the Triple G. Even Lito could not dis on a means of conveyance, used to bring back “the food for da boys.”