Friday, May 29, 2015

Chemo Bus, Round III

Kate and I have decided that one should NOT be required to voluntarily walk oneself into chemo sessions.  Especially this last one, where she knew what she was in for.  They should have to dispatch at least two burly guys to drag a person in.  preferably handsome ones.

But, unfortunately, that's not how it worked.  She walked herself in at the appointed time and presented her arm for her dose of toxins. The experience, near as I can tell, did not improve with repetition.

The part that WAS better was that they were out of chairs; it was a busy afternoon at the chemo factory.  They ended up putting her into an actual room; the one generally reserved for really sick people.  It was quiet.  She could lie there and meditate.  She'd taken her anti-anxiety meds before she went in, so was able to not worry about it all; she could accept it and let it go.  (isn't modern chemistry great?)

The experience of these last few days has been much like the last round three weeks ago.  She turns green-ish on a regular basis.  Drugs, yoga, sleep - all these help.  People bring food - that helps a lot. Having Alexandra here to laugh and cry and just be her almost-four-years-old self - that brings the long-term into perspective, and Kate remembers just why she's subjecting herself to this ordeal.

I think in some ways this third round will be the hardest one.  Like your junior year in school or the 3/4 turn on the mile track, you're past the halfway point, but the finish line is not yet in sight.  You're bruised and battered, yet need to somehow marshal energy to finish the race.

She's going to make it through. She had a fever the first day, but managed to fight it off before it got dangerously high. She aches; her sense of taste is gone again - the treatment has started to settle into a familiar rhythm; she has some idea of what to expect.

Yesterday, today, tomorrow - these will be the hard days.  Then she has two weeks to gather her strength for the final round.

Prayers accepted and welcomed...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

And, In-Between

I'll be heading back up to Minneapolis early next week to hold Kate's hand through round three of chemo.  She's hanging in there.  Feeling OK, but shaky.  Afraid of the next round of toxins.  (I guess I'd be more worried about her if she wasn't afraid - this is some scary stuff!)

In between Minnesota trips, I've been back to working on the house.  It's ALMOST ready to be called habitable again.  Last weekend, we put in the new shower door.

To be more accurate, I watched Joe and his longtime Scoutmaster, Jim, install the shower door.  It was a treat.  Jim is a retired glazier; he's been working with glass for a long time.  And, he's been showing Joe how to do things since Joe was knee-high to a grasshopper.

As soon as the glass was unboxed, the teacher-student bond snapped back into place.  Jim hung back; watching us work, making suggestions (not giving orders) about how this and that might be a good way to get the job done right.  As soon as the basic steps were done, I found myself on the sidelines, watching them work together.

The first day, we'd put the frame in place.  Once the caulk was in, Jim shrugged his shoulders, and allowed how that, if it were his place, he'd stop there for the day and give the caulk a chance to set. Not being fools, we closed up shop for the day, and headed out to get a set of those glass suction cups that the professionals use to maneuver large panes of glass (another Jim suggestion).

The next morning, he came back out, and showed Joe how to properly set glass.  We used the cups to easily hold the glass while he put his handy-dandy shims (that just happened to get into his pockets that morning) into place to level it out.  He showed Joe how to put in those black rubber edge strips properly - leave a bit of extra in the line, so as the rubber dries and shrinks, it'll settle back to even and not pull and crack on you.

He did the hard line of caulk - the one between the two panes of glass - himself, which I much appreciated, because if that part is messed up, the whole thing looks bad.  They worked, bantered, exchanged jokes.

In these last years, Jim's eased out of the leadership role of the troop.  Joe's gone from baby scout to Eagle Scout, to leader, and their relationship's grown with Joe.  It was easy to see they both enjoyed a bit of time in their old roles; guide and student.  And I enjoyed watching it unfold.

Yup, I got my shower door installed; that was the least of it.  Thank Goodness for men who take time to lead and teach and mentor young scouts.  We'd all be poorer without them.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Chemo Truck: Round II

The first round of chemo was rough.  at best.

Her system did NOT LIKE the drugs (go figure), and she spent the better part of a week wishing she could crawl into a hole and pull the opening in after her.

I didn't do so well myself.  It was harder than I thought it could be, to have her hurting so badly, and me so far away.

Her second round was this past Tuesday.  And, this time, I'm here in Minnesota with her.  And this time, it's been a bit better.

They gave her different anti-nausea medication, and more of it.  I came up Tuesday night, after her treatment.  She didn't feel so hot, but it was better than the first round.

Wednesday, I just had to not laugh.  Her steroids had kicked in, and she was in GO mode.  We went to yoga in the morning.  We went to Cancer Exercise class in the afternoon.  We picked up the house and she gave Alexandra a bath.  She wore me out.

Sometime in the night, the steroids wore off, and the chemo truck hit her.  This morning, she woke pale and dizzy and queasy.  One might have thought that would knock yoga off the agenda, but one would have been wrong.  We went to the 9:30 class - and she was better for it.

We came back, napped (both of us - I was tired, too), and she woke with at least some energy.

Chemo is hard stuff.  She's almost bald - and still beautiful.  (It's funny to walk on the streets and watch people not look at her head...)    Her skin is rough, her mouth is sore, her body aches. All in the name of staying well?!

Last time she felt better after about a week - we're hoping the same is true for this.

Two down, two to go.