Well, it turns out I am not a mutant. Sorry dad!
In the words of my OG (please refer to Urban Dictionary if you are unfamiliar with the term, and if you were previously unfamiliar with Urban Dictionary, you're welcome) oncologist "I am sorry, but it is what it is." We will come back to the OG oncologist later in this post (and in many posts to come). And, yes, this is how we refer to my doctor...I find having a sense of humor keeps things a lot more enjoyable. But before going there, a few more words on mutants and next steps.
In my humble opinion, I am handling the news well. I mean, obviously, it would have been better to have tested positive for the mutation, but there is really nothing we can do other than move on and take the next step.
Living in the present. Taking things as they come. That is the way to go when you have cancer (or any other major health or life crisis). Never really "got" that until now.
The next step is for the OG oncologist to get in contact with the specialist at UCSF to discuss the treatment options and agree on the best course. Basically, there are two options. One is to start immunotherapy right away; however, the tumors in my liver could take this option off the table. The other is to do chemotherapy first as a means to get the liver tumors taken care of (ideally), and then do immunotherapy later. It goes without saying that the first option is much preferred because immunotherapy is the treatment that actually can get at the melanoma itself, not chemo. But, of course, a functioning liver is critical so we don't want to burden mine with more than it can handle.
So...continued prayers for my poor liver and that I can start whatever treatment course is recommended SOON, are much appreciated.
Now, back to the OG oncologist. I gotta give this guy a shout out (he will remain nameless until I ask him whether or not he prefers I name him, or just stick with my awesome nickname for him). You know when you just really, really like someone and not just feel, but know, that they are your advocate? That is exactly how I feel about this doctor. He's smart and well trained (prerequesites for a doctor). Agressive in the right ways. Tells us like it is. Knows what he doesn't know. And, goes the extra mile to make things happen fast. He emails. He calls. He gave me his cell phone number. Really, if you ever find yourself in need of an oncologist in Santa Cruz (which I really hope none of you do), let me know. You will not be disappointed.
I should also say that it's not just the OG that I am really happy with, it's literally every person I have interacted with in the medical system throughout this experience. From that first night in the emergency room, to the people responsible for scheduling appointments, nurses, doctors, each and every person has been incredibly kind, good at their jobs, and compassionate. It is really the little things that make this largely unfun (for you Orwell fans out there) experience more tolerable.
It really would have been good to be a mutant though...