[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland: New Year’s Day edition


Last night I managed to have an anxiety dream which combined pretty much every oneiromantic cliche that ever existed into one simmering subconscious grab bag. Lisa Costello and I were staying in a college dorm, but I was splitting my time between attending classes and visiting an infusion center for treatment. Where I kept flirting with the nurses. Lisa tried to get me to go to a chemistry class with her, which it turned out I’d enrolled in but forgotten to attend. Instead I went over to the infusion center parking garage, where I could not find my car. Suddenly, I was surrounded by screaming kids embarking on a field trip, being rather badly led by the head financial analyst from my Day Jobbe. There was more, but basically, this dream combined school anxiety, job anxiety, relationship anxiety, financial anxiety, cancer anxiety, and “Dude, where’s my car?” anxiety. Oh my poor brain.


These past two days at NIH have been action-packed, to say the least. A fascinating experience to even be there. One big difference is that it’s a research institution, not a treating hospital. This means even really basic stuff like hallway signage and the behavioral priorities of the support staff is different from anything in my experience. With one minor exception, the process has been excellent, far exceeding both my expectations and my hopes. We still have no real idea where we’re going to land in terms of enrolling in a study (or possibly not), but we’re learning a great deal about me, about medical options, and about the way things are done at the cutting edge of oncology. As I mentioned yesterday, I will make more detailed reports later, once I am clear on confidentiality issues. I will say that a “Newcomer’s Guide to NIH” would be a hella useful thing to write.

Social Life

Other than seeing family, we’re not being social here yet, again with one exception. Too much to do at NIH, and my head tends to be brimming with thoughts and data at the end of each day. However, today we are meeting Slacktivist Fred Clark for lunch, as he is kind enough to drive down here to see us. I’ve admired Fred’s blogging for a long time, and suspect we are kindred spirits, so I am really looking forward to seeing him in person.

Schedule in Maryland

We will make a decision tomorrow afternoon or Friday morning about whether we’re going home over the weekend or staying into next week. This has to do with which path we follow for the clinical trials. Some paths require me to stay on for a while, some paths have a day or two more of testing (likely Monday and Tuesday), some paths have me go home and come back later. Once I know how that’s working out, I will make an effort to make myself available for social time with area friends and fans.

Happy New Year

This is quite likely the last New Year’s Day of my life. I intend to enjoy it, and hope you can do the same.

3 thoughts on “[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland: New Year’s Day edition

  1. Dave Raines says:

    Oooh, Fred Clark. Have fun!

    1. Jay says:

      He is a great guy in person. You would have really loved being there. Spent a good portion of lunch talking theology and society.

  2. Sorry, but that dream doesn’t count unless you were naked in it, too.

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