The circle of support continues to expand. Today we were surprised by a care package from work. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill, get-well care package. I’m talking about an overflowing abundance of generosity that took three trips from the car to the house to unload. It had everything from lotion and chapstick, to homemade cookies and barbeque, to talking picture frames, to shirts for us and a onsie for Kai with custom made “team Goldfarb” decals that included pictures of our family, to Nintendo DSes for each of us, to a Play Station 3 for the house. And that’s not a full list, that list was just meant to show the range of items included. It was a super gigantic care package on steroids. Our co-worker/friend, Angela, who delivered it to us told us that there is also a whole meal cooking, errand running, general helping organization effort going on companywide. And while she was talking, I noticed she was wearing a melanoma support bracelet (we understand the whole office is wearing them in a show of solidarity for us). There are no words that can express how much this level of support has affected us. We have been embraced and held tight by our work family in a way that goes so far above anything that I would have expected or even thought was possible. The way that they have rallied around us over the past couple of weeks – so quickly and so completely – is simply awe inspiring. To say we are grateful is a severe understatement. And it’s not the things, it’s the fact that everyone instantly came together to provide the most possible support, professionally and personally, to both of us (although the things are fabulous and we love them too, don’t get me wrong). I have never felt so claimed and protected by a group of people. It’s like all of these wonderful people have said to us, “you are ours, we will take care of you, you don’t have to worry about anything other than winning this fight.” They were our co-workers, they were our friends, and now they are our family, every single one of them. We also had a wonderful home-cooked dinner from our good friend Renee today, dinner from our wonderful neighbors last night, a visit from friends Ryanne and Bret yesterday who brought us a recordable book so that I could still “read” to Kai when I’m not here, a hand-delivered bouquet of fruit from another group of co-workers, and a never-ending stream of cards and good wishes. I just cannot believe how loved I feel. I am in awe of the amount of support we are being given. I am grateful beyond words for everything. And I am sure that I will be changed by this generosity forever.
Dr. Schuchter, from the University of Pennsylvania, called us today. She received the results of the BRAF testing from Dr. Thambi and she called us to tell us how happy she is about the results. She said that she received them earlier today, but had only just finished in clinic and rushed to call us because she was so excited that I had another treatment option available (the BRAF-specific treatment). I believe that she meant that; I believe that she was excited for me. Dr. Schuchter is a renowned melanoma expert. She sees a vast amount of patients. Her help was enlisted by a very good family friend and we have only met with her once. But we already feel that she sincerely cares about us and we are grateful, so grateful, to have options. There aren’t a lot of good options for melanoma, but now we have a plan for three clinical trials – the IL-2, the TIL cell therapy, and the BRAF-specific treatment. I am so thankful for these options and for the truly caring doctors who are walking this journey with me.
This is a strange time. I feel like today and tomorrow are the last two days that I will be the person I am now. I feel like once the treatments begin, I am embarking on a journey from which there is no return. Even after I am cured, the experiences that I will have had will have changed me – they already are. After going through the treatments, I imagine that I will always live with at least a small amount of fear and uncertainty about the future. So as ready as I am to end this journey in victory, I am also nervous to begin. It’s not the treatments or their side effects that scare me; it’s the inevitable fear itself that we will have along the way. But at the same time, I will also be changed for the better. Because of this journey I am experiencing humanity in a way I never have before – the raw human emotion and unquestioning support I am being shown has opened my eyes to the innate goodness that exists in all of us. And I will gladly live with a little fear in exchange for the vast amount of love with which I am surrounded.
Today I am thankful for my amazing MMG family; my good friends who continue to overwhelm me with support; my wonderful family who keeps showing me the face of positivity even though I know this must be difficult for them; the doctors who will cure me; the clinical trials that are my only options; and, as always, my fabulous husband and perfect baby Kai. May you grow up with the knowledge that we are all good. We are all love. We are all one.