First things first. Blake had his scheduled three month scans and all is clear. They scanned his lungs, brain and bones and everything is normal. Needless to say, we are going to have an extra thankful Thanksgiving week!
He also had a hearing, kidney and heart check (to monitor the possible side effects from the various chemos). Hearing is unchanged; he has a small amount of high frequency hearing loss in one ear. Kidney function is normal. His cardiologist reduced his beta-blocker by yet another reduction, which is great news. Blake is excited about this, as the beta-blocker adds to his tiredness.
Last weekend we had a fantastic trip to the Bay Area. The primary purpose of the trip was to visit California College of the Arts. We had a great time on a campus tour and were very impressed. The admission's counselor thought Blake's movies were fantastic and personally forwarded Blake's YouTube channel to the chair of the animation department.
We also had a great day with origami expert Bernie Peyton. Blake met Bernie at the origami convention last summer. Bernie has a big heart for pediatric hospitals and is working on a grant that seeks to use origami therapeutically. Needless to say, Bernie was very keen to talk more with Blake! We were at Bernie's home in Berkeley for about four hours. He taught Blake a number of origami techniques and we had a great time enjoy Bernie and his wife's hospitality.
However, before our time with Bernie, we had an extra special treat. Bernie's next door neighbor is Bill Reeves, a Pixar executive. Bill gave the three of us and Bernie and his wife a tour of Pixar! It was amazing to be in the home of Toy Story and Monster's Inc. Bill was very kind and we had a nice lunch together (in the Pixar cafeteria) after the tour.
We also had some time to chat with Jen's cousin who is a San Francisco based graphic designer. He continued the trend of confirming that Blake has what it takes to pursue a career in art. And of course, no Derksen family vacation is complete without a few epic food stops. We ate some real treats, including Korean-Mexican fusion at HRD.