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Recent Accident to My Son

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    The Hopkins Medical school has been closed all week. In some ways that has been a blessing. This has given Brian a chance to study all week for what he says will be the most difficult test that he will have all year. The test covers infectious diseases. They have to be able to identify the disease from a picture of a laboratory slide, tell the symptoms and then name the proper drugs used to treat it. All of the tests require a tremendous amount of memorization. This is why Brian really wants to get off of the oral Baclofen. A couple of weeks ago he went to the hospital for a day and was evaluated for a Baclofen pump. That didn't go as well as he had hoped. The day after the Baclofen pump evaluation he felt terrible. He's not sure why he felt so bad after the evaluation it could have been the withdrawal from the Baclofen pump or it could have been a UTI. In any event he's reconsidering the Baclofen pump for now.

    I'm going to Baltimore Feb 23 so that Ann can go back to Phoenix for surgery on Feb 25. I'll stay in Baltimore until Ann returns and is well enough to take care of Brian. Last week I received an invitation from Hopkins for the White Coat Ceremony. At this ceremony the first year medical students receive their doctor's white coat. The ceremony is scheduled for April 19. I wouldn't miss this for anything. I'm going to bring my mother with me to Baltimore for the ceremony. Brian's aunt from Chicago and my daughter will also fly in. It's going to be a crowded condo. I think we'll have to get a hotel room close by for a couple of nights.

    Roger

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      A couple of weeks ago he went to the hospital for a day and was evaluated for a Baclofen pump. That didn't go as well as he had hoped. The day after the Baclofen pump evaluation he felt terrible. He's not sure why he felt so bad after the evaluation it could have been the withdrawal from the Baclofen pump or it could have been a UTI. In any event he's reconsidering the Baclofen pump for now.
      Roger~ he feels terrible because the trial is like having a spinal tap just worse. Especially if he got up and was real active after the trial. Spinal headaches, neausea, etc can occur but passes quickly. Some folks get it a day or two after the pump implant, longer if they have a CNS leak.

      Tell Brian to talk to the neurosurgeon before he changes his mind.
      Perhaps we will meet again while you are intown. I have a conference in Baltimore from Marc 20-23. Would love to be able to get together with you and Brian.

      Give Ann my best as well.
      Every day I wake up is a good one

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        I just talked to Brian. It's snowing again in Baltimore. Today at 1:30 he took a test that is suppose to be the hardest test that he'll have in med school. Passing was 70 and he scored an 83. This was good news. Having the extra time to study last week because of the snow was a blessing.

        Roger

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          Originally posted by Roger View Post
          I just talked to Brian. It's snowing again in Baltimore. Today at 1:30 he took a test that is suppose to be the hardest test that he'll have in med school. Passing was 70 and he scored an 83. This was good news. Having the extra time to study last week because of the snow was a blessing.

          Roger
          Congratulations to Brian for once again scoring higher than most in his class. This maybe the only time I have ever thought of snow as being beneficial to someone who uses a wheelchair!

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            The snow sucks! Schools cancelled again here.

            Way to go Brian.
            Every day I wake up is a good one

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              I'm in Baltimore for the week while Ann is in Phoenix having the third lumpectomy since the end of January. The surgery was yesterday afternoon. Ann is staying with a friend recovering. Hopefully the surgeon removed all of the cancer cells. We won't know until next week with the lab tests are complete. If all of the cancer cells have been removed then Ann will have radiation treatments in Baltimore. Cheesecake gave Ann the name of an oncology doctor in Bethesda. That doctor recommended a clinic in Baltimore and it just so happens that its the same clinic that the surgeon in Phoenix had referred Ann to. At first Ann's surgeon said that he didn't have any contacts in Baltimore but then he came back with the name of a clinic in Baltimore.

              Bank of America finally responded to the offer that we made in July to purchase the condo that we're currently renting. Fortunately BOA rejected our offer. Last July we offered the asking price for the condo $350,000 with the stipulation that the seller pays the closing costs. BOA came back and said that they don't pay closing costs. That turns out to be good for us.

              Three weeks ago BOA had the condo appraised but they wouldn't tell us the current appraised value so I paid for our own appraisal. We got the appraisal today. The current appraised value for the condo is $275,000. Next week we'll make a counter offer to BOA, ~$260,000 and we pay the closing costs. The truth of the matter is I think $260,000 is still a lot of money for this condo. It's not a palace but it has the location and amenities that we need. This condo sold for $518,000 in 2007. Real estate values in Arizona have dropped in half since the 2007 peak so maybe Baltimore is no more nuts than Arizona.

              Roger

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                Hopefully we can meet up this week. I will PM you and see what might work.
                Every day I wake up is a good one

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                  Ann met with the surgeon today and got very good news. The lumpectomy successfully removed the cancer cells. The lab results showed that there was clear margin. The next step is to have radiation treatments to kill any microscopic cancer cells that were not removed during the surgery.

                  Today Ann's surgeon Dr. Zanis recommended that she remain in Phoenix and have brachytherapy. This involves placing radioactive seeds or pellets near where the cancer cells were removed. The advantage of this therapy is that it only takes a week instead of the normal external radiation treatments that take six weeks. Ann meets with the oncologist in Phoenix tomorrow to verify that she is a good candidate and to setup a treatment schedule.

                  I've been working on the computer today rescheduling flights. My daughter has agreed to fly back to Baltimore this weekend so that I can go back back to work. Ann will return to Baltimore after the radiation treatments are completed.

                  This year has really started off with a bang hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll be back to our normal routine. Monday, our Realtor submitted our new offer to purchase the condo. We haven't heard back from Bank of America yet.


                  Roger

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                    Roger, GREAT news about Ann's lumpectomy and the removal of cancer cells! I am sure that is an enormous weight off of everybody. I hope you all can return to a somewhat normal routine soon.

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                      Ann started the radiation therapy yesterday. She spent most of the day at the doctors office getting the surgery completed for the therapy so that the radioactive pellet could be inserted. I talked to her this morning and she's hurting. The brachytherapy is not a painless procedure. The advantage is that it's over in a week rather than six weeks for the normal radiation therapy. The fact that it's going to be over in a week is what she's focusing on.

                      I finished booking the airline tickets this morning for Ann, Christine and myself. Christine is flying to Baltimore from Los Angeles today, I'm flying back to Phoenix tomorrow, Ann is flying to Baltimore next Saturday and Christine is flying back to Los Angeles on Sunday. It took some time last night until I was able to work out the best deals possible for these short notice tickets. Usually we fly Southwest and buy the tickets several weeks in advance when I looked at the Southwest website the price of a short notice one-way ticket from Baltimore to Phoenix was $419. The usual price when we buy them three weeks in advance is $100-$200. I searched all the airlines and found the best deals on Southwest, AirTran and US Airways and was able to get all four tickets for $480 plus a rapid rewards award and US Airways frequent flyer miles.

                      Roger

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                        Ann went to the Breast Cancer Clinic this morning at 7:30 AM to have the radioactive pellet inserted. She had another treatment today at 4:00 PM. This morning she was very concerned that the treatments were going to be extemely painful. I talked to her after the first treatment and she told me the treatment was not bad at all. For the rest of the week she'll have a morning and an afternoon treatment. She'll be done with the treatments on Friday and the plan is that she'll fly to Baltimore on Saturday.

                        Brian met with a doctor today to discuss how they can bring more attention to the issue of doctors with handicaps in medicine. Brian said that there were several ideas discussed and that he wants to bring attention to this issue.

                        Roger

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                          Hi Roger, So glad that Ann's treatment today was not as bad as you had feared. Four more days to go sounds good. I'm glad that Brian is bringing up the issue of MD's with disabilites. I worked at a major medical center with over 3.000 employees most of my career and disabilities were not spoken of, and rarely seen in the professional ranks. It was somewhat disheartening to always have to say "you know, the woman in the wheelchair" after I had given my name and realized there was no recognition. When I mentioned the chair it was always met with "oh, of course!" because I was such a rarity.

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                            My wife completed the brachytherapy, radiation therapy, today. After the last treatment the doctor removed the balloon that had been inserted for the therapy. My wife said that removing the balloon was extremely painful. I don't think that Ann would recommend this therapy as opposed to the typical external radiation therapy. Two of her friends had the external radiation therapy and they said that it was painless. For Ann the brachytherapy was not painless.

                            The reason that Ann choose to have the one week brachytherapy was that there wasn't a good time right now to have six weeks of uninterrupted radiation therapy. At the end of March Brian and Ann are coming back to Phoenix from Baltimore for spring break and near the end of April Ann is going to New York City for a walk. She would jump at any excuse to go to New York City, even if she has to walk 13 miles.
                            Ann decided to do the one week brachytherapy so she could do these other things. Unfortunately she didn't know at the time the painful consequences of her choice. It's over now. One more night of pain pills and she'll be on the road to recovery.

                            Several of Brian's college friends are coming to Phoenix from Los Angeles and San Francisco when Brian is home for spring break. His friends have really provided great supported to him since the injury.

                            Roger

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                              Ann is starting to feeling better each day. The weather is nice in Baltimore and she went for a walk around the inner harbor.

                              We finally had some good news about the condo. Ann called our Realtor today and found out that Bank of America has accepted our $265,000 offer to purchase the condo. Brian is pleased to get this over-with. Other than the stress of not knowing if we would have to move again, renting the condo for the last eight months has been good. Last July the asking price for the condo was $350,000. For these prices you would think that that the condo is a palace it's not. Real Estate in Baltimore by the Harbor is expensive. In 2007 it was crazy expensive.

                              For us this condo is as ideal a place as I think that we could find in Baltimore. The condo has: indoor parking, 24 hour security, a large master bath, hardwood floors and it's two miles from Hopkins. An additional benefit that's not a necessity is that it has a nice view of the harbor. There are a few things that we need to the condo but it's a big relief to finally get this purchase done.

                              Roger

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                                Congrats. It sure has been a long process, I am certai that you are relieved, the savings is even better!
                                Every day I wake up is a good one

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