Monday, September 28, 2009

a quick summary of the day

1. Got up late, made lunch: bratwurst sandwiches for Renée, Dad, and myself; noodles, Asian beef, and homemade oi-kimchi for Mom.

2. Took Mom & Co. to Fairfax Hospital; saw Dr. Tonnesen at 2PM. Talked a bit about the MRI done by NCI on September 11. "Better than expected" was the doctor's feeling upon reading the text report. It seems, however, that the report NCI faxed over wasn't the revised version of the report that we, as a family, had already seen, so whether Mom's current condition is "better than expected" remains up in the air, and I found myself disturbed that NCI hadn't yet revised the report.

Dr. Tonnesen said he wants to see Mom again in "a couple months." Since he's no longer administering radiotherapy, his main capacity, now, is an advisory one. He conceded that his reading of the July 20 MRI (which showed the second growth when it was still aggressively growing) might have been hasty, given the tumor necrosis visible in the 9/11 MRI. We now know the radiation did indeed have an effect.

3. Dad FedEx'ed my Korean-language letter (it's more presentation packet than letter, being almost 10 pages long) to Korea. I can only imagine what sort of phone call I'm going to receive in a few days. I expect there'll be screaming, crying, and plans to come right over to Virginia. Fine with us. I feel bad about the fact that Mom's cousins and their families have been in the dark about this situation. I really should have called them early on.

4. While Dad was on his FedEx mission, I took Mom and Renée to Fort Hunt Park. Mom walked a somewhat wider lap around the parking lot than she had done the two previous times, and she maintained what was, for her, a strong, steady pace. This was heartening.

5. We got home, and Renée's buddy Carla Okouchi came over, proudly showing off her belly: she's six months along the way to becoming a proud Momma. Well... technically, she's already a mom-- she simply can't let the kid out to play for another three months. Carla, Renée, and David are all in the same age group, so when David showed up after 7PM, they had fun chatting while Mom watched quietly and happily from her couch throne. I also found out that Carla and her hubby are both stars in an independent film, a martial arts horror-comedy called "Ninjas versus Zombies." I hope Bruce Campbell takes note and helps Carla promote her film. I admit I envy her.

6. I can claim, for once, that dinner was a true success. The bulgogi, despite being quite salty, was given rave reviews, with folks going back for seconds. I did the beef up Korean-style, in contrast to the Komerican way that my mom and her big sister tend to prepare the meat.*

Dad can also claim a triumph: his rum cake was a hit when we had dessert.

7. I'll be dropping Renée off at Union Station in the morning; we'll be leaving around 6:30AM, so I'm hitting the sack right now. My thanks to her and to Carla for visiting. Mom spent so much of her time smiling, and that means the world to me.

*Komerican bulgogi tends to be thicker cuts of sirloin, often thick enough to be grillable. In Korea, a person raised on Komerican bulgogi might initially be disappointed to see that peninsular folk prefer their bulgogi less gussied up with marinade and cut in thinner, stringier, messier strips, but this style eventually grows on you. So last night, I asked David to cut the sirloin into very thin strips, then poured a generous marinade over the whole thing, allowing the meat to soak almost 20 hours. In cooking the meat on the stove this evening, I got it to where it was brown and tender, but not charred. Instead, the meat released its juices, which combined with the marinade to form a fine Korean gravy-- something you could pour over rice.


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