11 Months Out

Good afternoon. I’ve had several people suggest that I update this blog, so here goes…I am not quite a year past my last chemo and radiation treatment. In some ways, it feels like it was a million years ago, or just a dream. My energy is not quite back to what it was before my first treatment began in November of 2013, but I feel like I am definitely gaining normality. I do 2 massages a day, (I tried 3 last week, but may not do that very often.) I rest or take a nap in-between massages, but still seem to be pretty tired by dinner time. I typically walk 1 and 1/2 miles a few times a week with my good friend, Cathy Ramsey. And, as often as I can, I am in my garden weeding, watering, and trying to keep my plants alive in this hot Texas sun. Gardening is one of the best therapies I can think of–it connects one to the earth, is an automatic stress reliever, and is a source of immediate gratification. The heat is absolutely overwhelming to me, but I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Obviously, my days of incredible weakness from the combination of chemo and radiation are in the past. Michael and I just returned from a trip to the North Rim of Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Oregon. While in Oregon, we visited my brother, Reid and family on the shores of Diamond Lake for several days. Aaaahhhh. The weather was divine–45 at night and low 80’s during the day (if you were in the sun). Crater Lake is only 30 minutes from Diamond Lake, so the 6 of us made a day trip there. There is no way to describe the grandeur of these places if you haven’t seen them. AND, the coolest part was that Michael’s foot wound had improved enough that we were both able to hike 3-4 miles a day. What a mental boost for both of us! A few people commented that he was moving better with a crutch than they were with 2 good feet. Reid, Michael, and my 2 nephews had a very successful trout fishing excursion one day, while my fabulous sister-in-law, Jeanne, and I had a relaxing morning. Then we all had a divine fish fry! To make the trip,we flew into Las Vegas and out of Reno, rented a car, and managed to put 1800 miles on it. I have to say I think Nevada is a very desolate state. The early pioneers were a lot tougher than I am.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, as always, my family has been a continual boost to me. In particular, I have 2 very precious grandsons and one on the way. They are so much fun, and we are very fortunate that they all live within 30 minutes of us.

My next check-up is August 21-22. I have bloodwork, a CT scan, and a physical with Dr. Shafer, the gynelogical oncologist. I expect everything to be good, but promise to share the results on a future blog. My sister, Lynda, made me a sign last year that I keep in my room, and I have to believe it’s true. It says, “Cancer Free August 1, 2017”.

4 months out

It has been over 4 months since I finished treatment. Fortunately, it almost seems like a dream, or that it happened long ago. I had a head-to-thigh PET scan November 20th, and it was totally negative. Even the fluid cyst containing the tumor cells was no longer evident!! Yay!!😃

Over the last four months, I have gradually returned to my pre-treatment working schedule. I began doing just one massage a few days a week. Currently, I am doing two massages per day most of the time, with naps in between. In October, I hiked Enchanted Rock with my 2 dear friends, Anita and Lynda. We all kept a pretty similar pace. A month before I didn’t think that I would be able to do it.

I truly feel pretty normal, just tiring a little more easily. Digestive track isn’t perfect but is getting there. Dr. Klopp, my beloved radiologist, says I should feel back to normal 6 months out. I’ve thought about writing an article on accessing the medical care one desires-cancer or other ailment—but haven’t done it. Somehow, between doing 2 massages, grocery shopping, cooking, and all the other things we do to keep a household running and our loved ones loved, the day disappears.

Grandson, Oliver
Oliver
Grandson, Wyatt
Wyatt
The trick is to not discuss the past too much! Even helping friends as they go thru treatment can put me in a dark place, if my past is rehashed too much. It’s okay to listen and help them, but not go into all my previous treatments. You just relive the fear. I would rather focus on the present—my precious 19 month old grandson, Wyatt, and my sweet 3 month old grandson, Oliver. I am gardening, which is mentally and physically healing, working on finishing a toddler quilt (it was a baby quilt when I started it 2 years ago), walking 2&1/4 miles twice a week, and enjoying friends and family.

Next check up is in February with Dr. Shafer, my Gynecology Oncologist, back at MD. People ask, “So, are you in remission now?” That sounds like a simple question, but to me, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, for now there are no clinical signs, and I feel good. However, I never felt bad either of the two times when I was diagnosed, and the nature of the beast is such that it’s hard to know whether it is still out there in minute amounts or not. So, not a good question. Just writing about it makes me feel ill.

I greatly appreciate all the love and support everyone has shown me. It makes a world of difference. Thanks to all of you !!Thsts it for now. I promise to do a better job of keeping up-to-date.

Recovery

I am now two weeks post chemo. All in all, I believe I am slowly improving, although it is at a slower pace than I would choose. However, it is probably not slower than what I anticipated.
My appetite is improving, and although I hope to eventually return to my VERY low glycemic diet, for now I am eating whatever appeals to me. My stomach has frequent low level queasiness remaining, but that is improving.
My energy is extremely low. I might spend 30 minutes watering my garden or doing dishes. Then I am ready to rest for several hours. I have started driving myself to do short errands, but even that is exhausting. I had hoped to be a big help to Arielle this past weekend, to help her get her 3rd grade classroom in order for school to start tomorrow. I was only able to help for 2 hours on Saturday, and was too tired to return on Sunday.
I rarely cook. Michael and I are keeping it very simple. My sister, Lynda, was here this weekend and kindly came out to cook dinner for me. She brought her grandson, Jett, who was a big help– he built me a “Snake Bridge”, so that snakes could crawl across it and not bother my grass! He is five. My wonderful neighbor, Barbara Mansur, has been kind enough to do lots of my grocery shopping. My fabulous neighbor and cook, Debbie Wright, brought me spinach quiche yesterday, that has to be one of the best I’ve ever eaten! And my neighbor, Holly, is kind enough to bring my newspaper up to the porch Friday through Sunday.
Today I am being picked up to go with friends to lunch in Wimberley.

So, for those of you who I have scared off previously, as I did not wish to discuss my cancer or treatment on a regular basis, please feel free to text, email, or call me if you like. I miss seeing everyone, but I’m not quite ready for many visits, due to my energy work. Much love to everyone!!
❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Treatment Finished!👍

Aahhh! My final 2 Radiation “Boosts” were 2 days ago on Wednesday. It turned into a bit of a crazy day. I had the first radiation at 8:30 in the morning that my dear, 93 year old (sharp as a tack) Aunt Jeanne dropped me off for earlier. It went quickly. I Ubered back to her house and rested.
Then, Uncle Jerry picked me up at 1:30for the last trip of my treatment at 2:30. We bought flowers for the Radiation Techs, who have been FABULOUS, and then went to Long John Silvers, as I was “hankering” for a couple pieces of fish. Anita, my dear friend who has been by my side for 75% of my treatments, met us and put my luggage in her car. So far, so good.

However, of all days, Radiation had difficulty with my positioning, and some issues with what was in my colon. Long story short, we were not able to leave MD Anderson until around 4:45, and my Vonlane Bus was at least 25 minutes away, it was raining, and we were in 5 o’clock traffic. The bigger problem, was that I was supposed to drop off my aunts home security key fob before going to the bus. The Vonlane Bus leaves on the nose of 5:30. If you are 2 minutes late, you have missed it. So, we made arrangements to meet Aunt Jeanne at the Hyatt, handed her the keys via Valet at 5:26, and I ran to the bus. Whew!!

When I was a teenager growing up in Abilene, I lived for several summers with my Grandma Sophie in Houston, working at the Jewish Community Center as a counselor. Anita came to visit, and one of our great pleasures was walking to three brothers bakery to eat chocolate Eclairs. So, as my Graduation from Treatment gift, Anita bought me a very yummy chocolate eclair from the French Bakery. Yumm Yumm! We split it, of course!

So, I am home and SO HAPPY to be here and not have to pack back up to go to Houston on Sunday. I did have some radiation burns in 2 areas, but I added chamomile, lavender, and geranium essential oils to some salve, and one of the two has totally healed. The other is improving. The EColi is gone, so I am eating whatever appeals to me, in small amounts. My digestive tract has greatly improved. Right now my biggest problem is just fatigue. I expected that, as chemo and radiation both affect the body in serious ways; I was already warned by my radiation oncologist that fatigue would be noticeable. With my incredible Go Fund Me account, I do not have to worry about taking my time to get over these major physical repercussions. So, I do a dish or 2, or water a plant and lay back down. In less than 24 hours, I finished a lovely summer read, Secrets in Summer, by Nancy Thayer.

Monday I have an appointment with my new Integrative M. D., so that I no longer have to travel to Minnesota to have an acting physician who supervises my protocol. Wednesday, Michael and I have an appointment to see a new interventional vascular physician, in order to put some new eyes on his wound not healing over the last four years. We BOTH need to be unencumbered with the pain and stress of his foot wound. It has changed every aspect of our lives-financially, physically, and spiritually. Our marriage is strong and our support of the other unwavering, but we are both ready to be healthy and be able to do all the things we love.

I can’t thank all the people who have supported me through this journey enough! All 3 of My children (and spouses) have been incredible. My daughter, Arielle, has been my unwavering angel–calling me every day, setting up the Go Fund Me account in collaboration with a few friends, taking me to the bus, checking in on her Daddy, and brightening our week with visits from Wyatt, my grandson. My friends Anita, Lynda, and Molly, who conspired to make sure I always had rides and whatever else was needed. My loving siblings, Reid, Bram, and Lynda who checked in in me. All of my beloved friends and relatives who gave me shelter in Houston. Paul Keeper and Bettie Forman, who also drove me home. My neighbors and friends, who brought me food, watered plants, texted, emailed, and in general, let me know and believe I am loved. You are too numerous to name, but you know who you are. Courtney Newmark set up this blog.

I believe very few of us truly believe we are worthy of being loved unconditionally. It is hard at times to keep faith that the Universe, God, is supporting us. However, it is so important to internalize those thought if we want to be happy and stay well. I have had a huge outpouring of support, and I so appreciate each and everyone of you who has sent healing thoughts and prayers my way. I wrap myself in them every day and can’t help but believe it has made an incredible difference in surviving. It’s hard to say that word, “survival”. I want to be here for another 30 years, and the thought 4 months ago that I might not survive 40 months was extremely depressing.

I believe that I was guided to the right doctors for the right treatment. My sister, Lynda, made me a sign that said “CANCER FREE BY 8-1-2017”. I believe I’ve done that!! I will have a check in with Dr. Klopp in a month and then return to Houston in 4 months to have a PET scan to evaluate my “former” cyst, to make sure there are no longer tumor cells present.

In the meantime, I will rest up and SLOWLY return to work when able. Hopefully, I can do 1 massage a day within a month or so. Hard to believe I am too tired to do a massage, but I will.
Thank you to everyone. I love you all!💗💕❤️

Final Chemo today

After 3 sticks, I have finally begun the last of my 6 Chemo treatments!! Wahoo!! My veins have become more and more difficult to find, but this is expected after 6 rounds of chemo from my treatment 3&1/2 years ago plus the Cisplatin I’m currently receiving. Ironically, I almost feel better during chemo than on the following days–but they load me up with all kinds of drugs and fluids to make me tolerate the chemo better.

I now have 10 radiation treatments left. 2 extra “Boost” radiations were added last week. I think I have 9 Boosts total. My understanding is that they are not more intense radiation, but they are slightly more specific. The area that the IMRT has been targeting is at the Vaginal Cuff, where the vagina was sewn shut after removing the uterus. It was a more general area, including surrounding lymph nodes. This will specifically target the cyst in the cul-de-sac. I still need to ask a few more questions, and will do that this Thursday when we have my appointment with Dr. Klopp.

I think the chemo, plus the radiation, the E Coli, and just being away from home leave me emotionally fragile. When the radiation techs told me last Friday that my treatment had been extended by 2 days, I started crying. But then, I cried when my friend, Angie McDowell brought food over that night. As it turns out, they can schedule me for 2 treatments a day, separated by 6 hours. So, I will still be done on the afternoon of the 2nd. Yay!! I want to go home and not have to repack to return.
I do think about all the people that are here from other countries, or other cities, that live too far to go back-and-forth. I’m lucky in that I have such a great support group of family and friends in Houston!

This past weekend in Dripping Springs was so crazy that it is almost laughable. I had started on the Cipro, giving up on the thought that I would be able to get over the E. coli by myself. However the side effects of the Cipro are the same as the symptoms from the E. coli-diarrhea and nausea. Our toilets were having a problem flUshing, so was spending quite a bit of time working on that. Then on Sunday, we had a big thunderstorm that knocked out our electricity, which also meant we had no water. After four hours of waiting for the electricity come back on, we finally went to my daughter Arielle’s, to take a shower for the first time for the weekend and to do some laundry. About the time we arrived, one of my neighbors texted to say her electricity had come back on. We drove home, only to find that everyone’s electricity UP to our house and across the street, had come back on. Ours was not on! So, I had another major meltdown! My poor husband! He has been very sweet, but I know it’s been difficult for him to see me crying all the time. PEC, The electric company, did send someone out shortly there after, so we did regain electricity within the next 20 minutes.

The good news is that I have improved Michael’s cooking skills. Sunday evening, cheese tortellini sounded good to me, so Michael bought some of that, and because I was such a basket case, he was forced into making pesto sauce himself. He did a fabulous job!
So, enough for now. I haven’t written for several days on this blog, because I just was feeling so yucky. I think the E.Coli is gone, and I am in the homestretch. Thanks to all who have tried to keep up with me and have sent prayers and thoughts my way. It all helps, just to know I am surrounded by so much love! Promise to write again soon.

End of 4th week

Melanie @ treatment
Melanie’s little helper
So, my fourth week has come to a close. 4 Chemos down, 2 to go. 13 Radiation treatments left, ending Aug. 2. The good and the bad news is that my digestive problems were partially caused by a food borne bug found mainly among children in developing countries, Enterogenic E. Coli. I have no earthly idea how I contracted this. No one that I have stayed with or have been exposed to, (including Anita, who attends the majority of my chemos, meetings, and radiation treatments) has shown any of the same symptoms.

I found this out after taking my 3rd specimen in. I showed up for radiation Friday morning, and they immediately put me in an isolation room, so that I wouldn’t mix with the other women, who also had lowered immune function. My Oncology Radiation nurse came to give me the news that there was indeed a reason for such severe diarrhea. This is somewhat comforting, as I wasn’t really sure how I might endure the next 2 and 1/2 weeks, if it was simply a problem caused by radiation and chemo. The bad news is that MDA is not sure how they want to treat it, as antibiotics might cause more problems. As it is right now, they are hoping it will just run its course. Infectious Disease Control was contacted for discussion.

I do think yesterday was a better day. Less meds, less trips to the bathroom. Some of the post-chemo nausea and malaise gets mixed into the pot. I asked for this particular treatment, which means chemo weekly. Unfortunately, about the time I’m feeling a little better, I have 1 day before chemo starts again. However, I still believe 6 and 1/2 intensive weeks is a heck of a lot better than MAJOR surgery–with a 6 week recovery time–followed by 4 and 1/2 months of chemo that also kills brain cells.

The medication that seems to really help is Tincture of Opium. There was a big snafu with People’s Pharmacy last weekend, so I wasn’t able to pick it up until I got to MDA on Monday afternoon. I was hesitant to take it, but Anita convinced me that there was no better time to try it then while I was in the hospital getting chemo, where they could oversee any problems. Actually I did not notice much at all, except that I might’ve been a little bit more relaxed, and it definitely calmed my digestive tract.

Enough about that subject!! I stayed with my “Aunt Alice”. She and my Uncle Jerry transported me to appointments, babied me, and provided emotional support. Wednesday is my light day, with just one radiation appointment, so Jerry and I took the opportunity to go visit two Jewish cemeteries. My father, paternal grandmother and grandfather, as well as some uncles, were at Temple Emanuel Cemetery, which is a gorgeous, soothing place. We placed stones on their graves and said Kaddish, a prayer for the dead. Then we went to a separate Jewish cemetery, where my beloved grandmother, Sophie Robins, and my cousin, Leslie is buried. We did the same there. Also, Jerry is a Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner, also called tapping,so I had a long session with him. The idea is to stimulate certain acupuncture points while bringing up strong emotional issues, to release/downgrade/change those feelings that get stored in your cells’ memory. I think it was very helpful. I also got to spend an evening with my special Aunt Jeanne, the sharpest 93 year old, incredible co-publisher of the Jewish Herald Voice.

Through the course of this disease over the last almost 4 years, I have tried to examine all stressors, negative thoughts, any self “unlove”, as I think that causes “dis-ease”. There are many subtle and not so subtle ways in which we don’t exhibit enough self love. I am a caregiver. That’s what I do. I love making people feel better. However, talking with Jerry, I realized the great extent of the stress I have been under for probably 10 years or more. First, going back and forth to help my father, who lived in Abilene, had dementia, and allowed multiple women to take advantage of him until he was deeply in debt. (I always said I needed to write a book, “Life with Jack”, because every week there was a new trauma!) At the same time, Michael and I were trying to help his 85 year old parents in Bryan, cleaning out their house, writing bills, and helping his Mom, who also had dementia. Throw in feeling responsible for my fabulous, but intense Mom moving to Dripping, and Michael’s youngest brother in Blanco, who has considerable mental problems, and was sheltering several people running from the law. We were always the “go to” couple, although my siblings and Michael’s tried to help when possible. When one is going through hard times,the only thing you can do is put 1 foot in front of the other. Who knows how much we internalize?

I do have more love and support coming my way than is imaginable at times. My friend, Lynda Burger, drove me to Houston on Monday, and stayed with her daughter all week in order to pick me up on Friday. Anita hung out with me all Tuesday, once again beating me at Canasta. I am taking the Vonlane Bus back to Houston (VERY LUXURIOUS!) courtesy of Judy Carter. It’s like a First-Class airline seat. And, I will be staying with my kind friends, Laura Pang and Bill Wheeler, this week. Way too many people to mention contributed to my mind-boggling Go Fund Me, so that I don’t have to worry about how to afford this time off or past medical bills. Todah Rabah, Muchos gracias, Thank you!!

Until next week, signing off.
M

Rough week#3

The 3rd week is over, which means I am ALMOST 1/2 way through treatment,  as the last radiation treatment is actually on August 2. It has been a rough week, as I have had great difficulty having food just sail through my colon, unimpeded. I don’t think anyone anticipated the radiation affecting my gut so severely so soon.

After a bad day Monday, Tuesday was a really decent day, just relaxing poolside at my cousin, Elisa’s home, beating everyone at Gin Rummy, napping, and generally being  coddled. Michael left to go home Tuesday afternoon, leaving me in excellent hands.  However, Wednesday morning, the diarrhea began in earnest again. Anita and I had made appointments for Reflexology appointments before radiation, which I thought would help everything. During my previous chemo 3&1/2 years ago, I had acupuncture the day before and massage the day after. The “Reflexology” here was actually more of a Chinese or ThAi style massage, with a little Reflexology, but it felt divine!  Afterwards, I thought Egg Drop soup might help my stomach, so we had Chinese food; but honestly, I thought the Hot and Sour sounded better. It’s hard to limit all spice after living in Texas most of my life!

Anyway, by the time I finished radiation, I was really in trouble again. The radiation nurse sent me to the Radiology Resident, who sent us to MD Anderson ER. What a zoo!!  I don’t think I would ever go back there again!   All of our care at M.D. Anderson has been so fabulous, that we expected that care to be the same. Not so! We were there from six in the evening to three in the morning, finally being released and going home to Anita’s. My labs surprised everyone with how good they were, and I was not dehydrated, as I had been taking in fluids like a maniac. I was given a prescription for Lomotil, which typically acts like a cork to stop everything up, and told to take it AND the Imodium.

When I saw Dr Klopp, my radiation Oncologist,on Thursday,  she was a little alarmed, but felt like the radiation was truly affecting me. She said that if things didn’t improve, the next step was Tincture of Opium and discussed diet. I did take in a stool sample to rule out any serious infections. So, yesterday started out a little better, but deteriorated by evening. (My personal nurse and beloved friend, Molly Hinds drove me home, so that was reassuring!) My philosophy had been to “limit” spicy, fried, or rich foods, and to eat whatever sounded appetizing, which had been a challenge. My new philosophy is to strictly stick to the BRAT diet for a few days–bananas, rice, apples, and toast–to see if things improve. So far, nice improvement today.

I know I’ve lost weight, but if I can just get this gut under control, I think I’ll feel ok.  I’m not in pain, I don’t have a lot of nausea, and people have been coming out of the woodwork to be kind to me! I’m going to try to work on my daughters baby quilt this weekend and just take it easy. My friend, Lynda Burger, will pick me up on Monday and take me back to Houston. I have a book of Jewish prayers for healing that are a source to uplift my soul, a book my sister gave me to daily remind me of my many blessings-and to remain open to the great, DIVINE good, and I always wrap myself in all the prayers and good thoughts that are coming my way–especially during chemo and radiation. I will make it through the next 3 1/2 weeks, and never have to treat this problem again.

so, to all who read this and have been my great support, thank you!

Rough Day

Yestwrday was a little rough. The morning started fine, with sweet Michael accompanying me to Houston for treatment. I drove and felt pretty decent! We arrived early, had labwork done (all good), radiation, and then went to lunch at Salata. We both needed soup, me for my slightly queasy gut.  Michael had dental work done the week before, and he needed soft food. I had a soup and a lovely salad. Boy, could we use a place like that in Dripping–huge salad smorgasbord that they fix for you.  Kind of like an upscale Subway, where you tell them what you want added. All kinds of salad mixes, veggies, cheese, condiments-heavenly.

Anyway, immediately after eating, my intestines rebelled. I spent much of the day in the bathroom, worried I might not make it on time and dreadfully embarrass myself!  I tried taking the anti-nausea medication, Zofran, knowing it had some constipating qualities, but that wasn’t enough. Took Imodium, took  more Imodium, consulted my chemo nurse about how much I could take safely, and we finally called the doctor on call. Of course, just as it seemed I might not have to jump out of bed, disconnect the power plug for IV, race around the corner, and pray no one else was in the bathroom, things slowed down. Thank G-d!!

The Dr was very concerned, came up with a plan to try simple first-Pepto Bismol-and or more Imodium if that didn’t do it. Worst case scenario, if problem continued, I was to contact him and meet him at ER. As it turned out, after taking 1 round of Pepto, I was able to eat rice, some stewed chicken, and green beans at my cousins home. I had no more problems and slept great

I am staying at my cousins home, Elisa and Yaron Pacht. They live in Meyerland, which is a very familiar, comfortable area, with lots of family. It was part of my bus route, when I lived in Houston as a teenager and worked as a counselor at the Jewish Community Center. I will just take it easy and hang out for the day, maybe swimming, reading  and working on Wyatt’s baby quilt. Michael will drive my car home later today. The Pachts are incredibly sweet and accommodating. Elisa’s Dad is my Moms brother, and she and I share a lot of similar traits.

My dear friend, Molly,  will come up to drive me home on Friday. My beloved friend, Lynda Burger, will drive me back on Friday. A lovely client and friend, Judy Carter, gave me gift certificates for Vonlanes, which is a luxury bus line. I will take it back and forth another time.

So, as you can see, I am well taken care of, as I have been through this journey.

2nd Chemo

Yesterday was my 2nd round of chemo, this time at the Main Building, instead of at the Mays Building, where I typically go for all of my gynecological services. MD Anderson is huge, but seems very well marked, so it is not TOO intimidating to find one’s way. So, I am 1/3 done with chemo; almost 1/4 of the way through radiation. Yippee!!

This week I am staying with long term, dear friends, Laura P. and Bill W. They live in a lovely neighborhood near the Medical Center, so it is very easy to get back and forth. My compadre, Anita, joined me at chemo. The only difficult part was that my veins were not cooperative, and it took 3 tries to get the IV started. I felt just a titch “off” but not bad. We read and played Canasta, and danged if she didn’t come from behind to beat me! We then joined Laura and my fabulous friend, Lynda B., for a great lunch before returning for radiation.

As a funny aside, the girl who “attempted” to take my blood for labs on Monday failed miserably. She went for help, and when the supervisor came in to take over, she said, “Honey, what were you trying to do? Looks like you were trying to hit her with a saber!! I’m not sure what you were going for here!” Oh well, everyone else has done better. C’est la vie!

Today I feeling pretty decent. I am supposed to drink at least 2 to 3 L of water after chemo, and I think I did a pretty good job on that yesterday. I took a bottle of homemade ginger lemon tea with me to drink during the four hour process, and I think that helped a lot. Last night, I had a wonderful dinner with Bill and Laura, and both for lunch and dinner ate like a pig. This morning, so far so good. Will have dinner with an old friend, Michael K. and his wife, this evening. Last night, Wheeler, Laura and I took a long walk around their neighborhood after dinner. That lifted my spirits, and I saw one of the most beautiful trees I think I’ve ever seen. I’ll take a picture and send it along another time.

Today is my slow day- just radiation. So, I may swim here at the Wheelers’ pool, nap, write thank yous, and start my long, overdo baby quilt for Mr. Wyatt. It is a little weird not to work or have other pressing matters to attend to. However, Mondays and Fridays are taken up with driving back and forth from Houston and radiation. Tuesdays and Thursdays are full of either chemo and radiation or doctors appointments and radiation Wednesday is my main down day.

The cool thing is that my brain feels a lot more clear on this chemo regimen. Not so foggy and my body doesn’t feel so “logey/heavy”. Last Thursday was when I noticed more nausea, but I am trying to head that off.

Still waking up a little disconcerted–patting what should be Michael’s side of the bed to figure out why he’s not there. What a miracle iPhones are for staying in touch!!

So, onward Jewish soldiers!! And anyone else, who wants to march along.
M

Home Again

Reid greets family
Reid greets family

Reid in drag!
Reid in drag!
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog! Aah, it is so WONDERFUL to be home again! I am so incredibly fortunate to have such fabulous friends and family to shelter, support, comfort, and transport me, but it feeds my soul to be at home. I knew I was happy to be home yesterday, but this morning when I saw my cat and started crying, I realized the full extent of my relief. There’s no place like home, Aunty Em!

The week was a good one. I visited and had dinner with several beloved relatives, and my special envoy, Anita, was with me for every appointment except for 2 radiations, which were easy peasy. After being treated for chemo previously, I really didn’t know if I would need someone to accompany me to all appointments, but having Anita there has made my week at MD Anderson so much easier, even though she did beat me at a word game during chemo! It is emotional and physical support, at a time when I don’t always realize that I am stressed or tired.

Anyway, my really good news was that my MRI from a week ago looked great! There was no evidence of other cancer in the rest of my abdomen, which has been of great concern to me. The MRI defined the area to be irradiated more clearly, and Dr. Klopp was very pleased. It did appear that there was evidence of some more solidified tumor cells along the perimeter of the original cyst, but that was to be expected. She said that the treatment we were doing was PERFECT! The radiation and the chemo will do the job, without the placement of an additional radiation cap that we had discussed at one point. (I would not have been thrilled, but I will do what I need to do.)

I have felt a little queasy, particularly Thursday, and somewhat Friday, but that is to be expected from the chemo. I take medication as prescribed every 8 hours around the clock for the first 3 days. A lot of food does not sound appealing to me, so I am punting right now on my strict diet and eating whatever I feel like eating that’s palatable. Driving home was ok, but honestly, I am wondering how I will feel next Friday. One day at a time. I have already begun the day feeling better.

This weekend started out with a bang! My brother, Reid, came in from Vancouver, Washington to be with us for the weekend. My son, Nathaniel, graduates from University of Phoenix today in San Antonio, so my oldest son, Travis, and his wife came down from Dallas to attend, along with my daughter, Arielle, her husband Ryan, and son, Wyatt. Travis and Reid have similar weird humor, so we dressed Reid in one of my larger dresses (he is 6’3″) and gave him my former wig. Travis and wife, Dani Ray, had quite the surprise when they walked through the door. I needed a good laugh! Anyway, Becky, Nathaniel’s pregnant wife, and possibly my sister-in-law Sandy, will be there also, so I will be surrounded by lots of love and a happy occasion to celebrate.

So, one week down, 5 to go. Thanks to all of you who have supported me in this journey, one way or another. Enclosing ridiculous pictures of Miss Reid!