My tentative schedule for the weeks leading up to CAR-T infusion has been confirmed! Radiation will start this Friday, following three or four hours of T-cell collection. Then a few days before my 26th birthday, I will be admitted into the hospital for at least a week.

So far, communicating with my medical team here versus at Hopkins has been NIGHT AND DAY. I basically hated my first Hopkins fellow, loved my second although my situation ended up being out of her scope of knowledge and responsibilities, felt gypped by the initial warm embrace of my standoffish, “sick for two weeks” transplant coordinator, never understood how much this “whole team of doctors working on my case” actually did or why they were so intimidating without communicating with me directly, and had a weird relationship with the omnipresent attending, whom I was convinced never answered emails until he did for my mom’s final email thanking him.

Needless to say, I already feel much better taken care of at the University of Maryland, which makes me wonder how things would have turned out had I been here in the first place. I am grateful for and confident in the team I have now.

After a morning of signing part one of consent forms, meeting with financial counselors, speaking with a social worker, getting labs drawn, being examined by the doctor, and then receiving my tentative schedule, I ordered an organic Mediterranean bowl from Great Sage, a solid vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Clarksville. My mom tried out an Egyptian bowl with chickpeas at the new Clarksville Commons, where we dined together with my to-go bowl. My mom’s $4 kids bowl came with a $3 coupon for a cupcake next door at Kupcakes & Co., which was apparently featured on the Cooking Channel’s “Cake Hunters.” You bet I watched an episode after finding that out.

So yes, I ended up getting another cupcake within a week or so, and sadly this cookie dough cupcake with what tasted like store-bought vanilla batter was not as good as last week’s moist gluten-free chocolate cheesecake cupcake. I did love the unexpected chocolate chunks at the bottom and the chunk of cookie dough on top, but the cake itself is everything, literally the base, which I found underwhelming. Icing was also too sugary, having felt the sugar crystals in there.

My mom is the cutest and most beautiful woman ever.

My mom also got a green tea boba drink from Royal Tea (lol, get it), which is also in Clarksville Commons. To pay almost $5 for boba here seriously blows my mind, when a drink is $1 or $2 in Taiwan and tastes 10x better.

As a miniature wannabe-NYC food marketplace, Clarksville Commons certainly has potential but it’s still pretty much empty on a weekday afternoon. The indoor space is not quite big enough to host a huge event, but perhaps that isn’t the intention. Still, the ample green space outdoors does spark the imagination for a livelier community gathering place.