Longest day ever

Lee's Summit JournalOctober 9, 2013 

Second of a two part series about Jet Pabst’s husband, Don, and his battle with cancer.

Ever have one of those days that seem to just last forever? That was our day yesterday. We got up at 7 a.m. to enjoy a quick cup of coffee, before leaving the house by 8. The GPS took us all over Kansas City and the longest way possible. By the time we called to figure out exactly which building at KU Medical Center we were to go to, we were a few minutes late. I hate being late! Anyone else? It just seems to add to any stress you are having at the moment. And I was gearing up for a lot of stress that day.

Our first appointment was to get Don’s stitches out. The “centipede” as I called it, was coming out. The nurse was wonderful and calming. Then we met with the neurosurgeon’s Nurse Practioner. Any questions answered and follow up appointment made. Not too bad of a visit.

Second appointment we met with radiology. After visiting with the nurse and finding out that Don could do treatments in Lee’s Summit, we decided that would be the best. He will be going Monday through Friday for 6 weeks. To have a closer location will save a lot of time. So no “mask” was made, but we did visit with the Radiologist. He shared some scary information with us. The median life span after diagnosis with this disease, Grade Four Glioblastoma Multiform is 16 months. That was hard to hear. Your heart just seems to stop beating, time stands still. Why did he get this? Was it something he did? Something he took? Environmental? No, none of these. It just happens. It is rare, only 17% of cancers, very aggressive and it isn’t cureable. What can we do? Chemo and radiation. That is it. Just try to keep the tumor from growing back. {Insert kick into stomach here.} So what do you do when you hear this? You head across the street to 5 Guys and eat the biggest bacon cheeseburger and fries possible. Yes, the whole thing!

Our next appointment was scheduled at the KU Cancer Center in Westwood. We met with the Bone Marrow Transplant center. Here we received the information about the process in which they would collect white blood cells to give to the Clinical Study people to make a vaccine to give to Don if he quailifies. There are so many clinical studies for cancer. Each type of cancer has lots of them going on. Our Oncologist recommended this one to Don. They are in the third stage of the study on it. That means alot of stuff has been figured out and the vaccine has most of the bugs worked out. Is this a cure? No. But just maybe, someday down the road it may become a cure for others. So the process to remove the blood cells they will need for the study is four hours long. Don will be hooked up to a blood machine that pulls blood out, centrifuges it to remove what they need and circulated back into his body. Sounds like science fiction! The study has a number of checkpoints throughout the process and at any point, he could be disqualified. Again, this isn’t a cure, it is a clinical study.

We went downstairs to meet with our last appointment, Oncology. First up, (for the 4th time that day) weight, heighth, blood pressure and temperature. I just thought it was funny that each appointment had to check his vitals. I think they would do good to get a central program that the patients information is inputted. Just a thought.


Jet Pabst is the owner of A Thyme for Everything is located in Downtown Lee’s Summit at 229B SE Main Street. www.athymeforeveryth

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