Monday, January 27, 2014

Moving right along

I belong to an online support group of other ovarian cancer patients and survivors. In the last two weeks, we have lost three more women to this awful, awful disease. Please do me a favor and take a moment to think about those who are suffering. And I don't just mean suffering from cancer. Life is hard. But being alive and living can be so wonderful and rewarding. We are all lucky to be here and we are all going to die someday, but for those who leave before they have finished their business, it is a tough road to take. Just send out your good thoughts and prayers for those suffering in this world. It works, prayers and positive energy work!

In my life......I sent out this update to my family and some friends. Please feel free to share this. If I can help just one person avoid the devastation of cancer (and I think I have!) then I have accomplished a wonderful thing in my life!

I have had two rounds of cisplatin and gemzar at this point and I am responding well to the treatment. My cancer markers are coming down, and we are very happy with that. If only if wasn’t so nauseating and exhausting. It is the same old routine with me spending most of my time recovering from a treatment and then just when I start to feel better, it is time for the next round. It is so hard to choose to continue chemotherapy and yet so hard to stop knowing that I might just find remission or another few months to watch my guys explore the world. 

My new chemo cycle leaves me no days of ease. I have a 21 day cycle and am vulnerable to all kinds of nastiness for days 7-21. During days 1-7, I am nauseated most of the time. My weight is dropping a bit, nothing too alarming, but I hit 130 this week and have to get more calories. Ice cream is good!

Round two has left me with a UTI that really kicked my rear. After all these years, those infections can still sneak up on me. I spent this last Friday at the oncology clinic getting fluids. Good Dr. Stein didn’t even try to put me in the hospital. He knows how much I hate it, I do so much better at home, and he helped me get home by the end of the day Friday. Today, I am feeling better. Sore from the retching and trying to eat easily digestible foods so I can regain my strength. He will not have me start my third round tomorrow, smart enough to know I need a break.

We had a good Christmas, the four of us. There were lots of ‘goings on’ with nieces and nephews that came to town for the holiday. I was physically and emotionally under the weather though. I chose not to participate in many of the activities. There is no cure for this part of the disease. I am finally reaching my days of anger and despair. Why me? Why not me? It was good medicine having the three most important people in my world with me for days on end. They make me laugh and cry and they bring me such joy. I cannot fathom giving up just yet. Oh, how I love to be with those two! Richie even took a few well deserved days off and we spent a good amount of time just being with each other. They spoiled me rotten on Christmas Day. I have a hard time with all those gifts, it seems a waste to shower me with things that I may or may not have the energy or strength to use. I must view them as incentives and find the time and energy to do just that.

Madeline and I drove to St Louis for the first full weekend of the new year. Those nine hours in the car were some of the best of her visit. Unfortunately, a big winter storm was headed our way and we had to cut short the weekend, but not before we spent a great evening with the Murphys.

There is always so much to talk about and share. I feel like I am bursting with things that must be said, stories I must share and she has so much to tell me right now. She is blossoming. There is so much going on concerning school, internships, her future, to what she does and doesn’t want to do. She has so many opportunities and decisions to make and it is wonderful watching her make her stand and become more independent. It even felt good when she told me it was time for me to back off. She will ask for advice when she needs it, but otherwise she would like to make her own way. I admire her. I was not so independent at her age. We are so blessed to have her in our lives. 

Charlie has applied to a few different universities, two of which are in Philadelphia. He applied to both Drexel and Temple University. He also has mentioned some interest in continuing to pursue woodworking. He has been taking wood shop classes at LHS for the past year and a half. He is quite talented, in my humble opinion. He recently made the most beautiful bowl. He and Richie harvested an Osage Orange stump and then Charlie machined the stump down to a bowl. The wood grain and color are just incredible. We are so damn proud of him. Like his dad, he seems to be able to do many different things, and do them well. 

I have also encouraged him to take some time off and just sit out the first year of college. I wish I had done the same. (But am glad I didn’t for then I wouldn’t have been on the path that led me here to Lawrence and Richie!) I hope I am helping my babies the right way, but nothing would make me happier than to see them living in the same town, just miles from each other. I think they would both benefit from the support they could offer to one another. Maybe I have encouraged too much dependence, but I cannot think of a better place for them to be than with each other in these next few years. Whether I live or die during that time, they will need each other very much. 

Recently, my wonderful niece Sara, made a beautiful teal colored flag for me to hang on the front porch. We are using it as a sign to help everyone know when is a good time to just ‘drop by.’ If you can’t call ahead and find your self in the neighborhood AND the flag is hanging on the porch, we are up for visitors and hope to see you. But if the flag is not out, please reconsider. My alarm dogs make plenty of noise even if no one knocks at the door so I am trying to maintain some semblance of peace when I can. 

I hope all of you wonderful souls out there in our world know how much we love you and are thankful for your presence in our life. And to all of you special ones who have made dinner, helped Madeline recently and continue to pray for us everyday - thank you. I love you all - to the moon and back again, a hundred, million times.