We got to tour iTOR for the first time a few weeks ago and it was amazing and nothing like I had been imagining. I guess I was thinking of people being dressed like they are going into surgery working on this stuff but everyone we saw was wearing business clothes and the main room looked like the lab from your high school science class. The main machine that does a lot of the sequencing work is about the size of a small microwave and the freezers that keep all of the samples (like Tim's lung biopsy) just look like something out of a school's cafeteria. I was just amazed at the work they are doing and how efficiently they are doing it. It was also really neat to see what we are working so hard to support (and what is helping to support Tim's treatments). They really have a neat set-up in that they are partnering with pharmaceutical and medical technology companies so drugs & treatments are literally being tested & developed next door to those that are or will be receiving them. There really are no words to explain just how lucky we all are that this is being developed here in Greenville.
We got a small taste of what traveling for treatments would be like if Tim was to be in a clinical trial outside of Greenville when Tim was int he Charleston trial last summer. We were lucky in that we just had to go down once a month to check-in but that was exhausting in and of itself and took a lot of time away from work for the both of us. Since I had started a new job I took many of those 1/2 days unpaid which wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme but I can only imagine the impact both physically and financially if that trial had involved a plane ride and required that he receive treatment at the trial site. That's the difference that iTOR makes, it is bringing those trials here to Greenville so people aren't forced to travel. This provides a huge burden of relief both physically, emotionally with getting to be around your support system and financially without having the cost of traveling as well as the cost of being away from work. It all came together for me during our tour so just thought I'd try to fit those pieces together for you guys as well :).
On Thursday night Tim & I also went to the GHS Partners Dinner. I felt pretty comfortable going as we were sitting at the same table as Dr. Edenfield and his wife Andrea. Tim ate the strawberries off of the salad then sipped off of his applesauce packs and pudding packs until dessert came and he destroyed the cheesecake they brought out. Not exactly healthy but one time shouldn't be too bad, besides he was really proud of himself for eating that cheesecake :). We also met a lot of really great people who have some interesting stories about why they support the hospital but overall it was really neat to see that GHS is moving ahead of the curve by working on proactive measures to prevent disease rather than just treating it after the fact. I'm not as familiar with other areas that they featured (neuro & children's) but the strides they've made in cancer treatment over the past three years have been incredible. They feature Oncology Rehab where you go work out with other cancer patients at the Life Center in order to regain your strength that chemo has taken away. You're watched over by a nurse and a trainer to make sure you are staying safe throughout your workout but Tim still raves about his time in Oncology Rehab back in 2010 and made some really great friends. They've also started a "Cancer Support Community" which aims to treat patients not just physically with treatments but also with nutrition, exercise and emotionally as well. Like I said, we're lucky that we live in a community where one of our main hospitals is moving forward with the understanding of the treatment as a whole along with prevention.
We've been using a new system that both Tim's mom & my dad emailed me about within 5 minutes of each other the other night called Mother Earth Produce. We've used them for about 3 weeks now and are really happy with everything we've gotten. They are out of Asheville and deliver buckets of mostly local produce (as well as some meats and other items). We're saving a ton of money and I could really get used to waking up on Saturday morning with my groceries sitting on my porch. :)
Speaking of groceries sitting on my porch, hopefully that will be the case in a few months. I started a garden of a TON of stuff this past weekend, fruits, vegetables, herbs and even watermelon. Tim (& my dad) have already predicted my failure (which may not be incorrect considering I have a talent of killing every living plant I touch). Hopefully though we will have a big harvest this summer and be able to live off of all of this fun stuff for awhile :).
We talk about Tim's chemo pack a lot but I don't know if I've ever actually posted a picture of what it looks like. We've had several friends offer to bedazzle or puff paint the pouch for Tim but so far he has passed on all offers. It's about the size of Zach Morris's first cell phone and is pretty quiet with just a whirring noise every minute as it pushes the chemo through the tubing.
We slacked off for the past two weeks and got a lot looser on our diet plan. This week we've kicked it back into high gear so last night we had an arugula salad with asparagus, peas, avocado and salmon that was cooked in raspberry vinaigrette. I thought it was fantastic, Tim let me know that he thinks he's jumped a little too far, too fast into this fish thing :).
Finally, we're pretty excited because we have just one team left for the golf tournament (sign up here: https://brightlife.ticketbud.com/teeitupforcancer). We've mostly filled it to capacity in just a few weeks. I can't believe it but we're less than a month away from the tournament, this means that Tim & I are entering into our annual panic mode about whether we will get it all done and it will be a success. :)
This year Tim has been leading pretty much all of it as well as leading the house stuff from our side of things (there are also a lot of really amazing people helping to pull the house off). He's pretty amazing if you ask me! We still have quite a few openings for tournament sponsors if anyone's company is interested (https://brightlife.ticketbud.com/events/10521/sponsorship_purchases/new). We also haven't had a lot of dinner sign-ups yet so still plenty of spots open there! (https://brightlife.ticketbud.com/teeitupforcancer)
Finally, the list is slowly growing and we aren't placing items on the list until we have a final confirmation (and know the item is almost in hand) but here is where you can access the list of items that will be up for bidding for you guys: https://squareup.com/directory/brightlife
Looking forward to the big day and hope you guys can join in on the fun!