2 of 8 also = 1/4

Okay so it’s not higher math but it did occur to me that with the chemo treatment today I will be one-fourth done. It makes it sound like we’re making progress. I’m marking these dates off my calendar though the reality is that it will be Memorial weekend before everything is really done with everything (and that’s if there are no further detours.)

First things first. (For those who worry…) The PET scan was clear for any further cancer. Yea! If it weren’t for this cancer I would be in great health. My lab work has all been good. I truly expected that this fall I would be diagnosed with diabetes–for no good reason other than a very strong family history. But my blood sugar was in the 80’s–I can still eat Christmas candy.

Oh, at the doctor visit the other day I made a smart remark about not yet losing my hair. (I thought it was a good thing…) They do not. They want me to lose my hair and from the doc’s scribbles I think they might ratchet it up a notch with the next treatment. They are looking for reactions and signs that the chemo drugs are doing their job.

But enough medical talk.

On Christmas morning after opening our presents Mom and Rebecca were busy scurrying around the kitchen preparing dinner. I had been banned from the kitchen but finally was allowed to put away a few dishes. The guys took off and when I asked Mom she said they had to pick up her Christmas present and she wasn’t supposed to know anything about it. I know what you’re thinking…how did she know what they were doing if she didn’t know? But the flurry of activity kept me from asking more. Until…the garage door opened and in walked…my sister. Yep, all the way from North Carolina. My brother (who we were expecting and who arrived later in the day) had schemed and planned a family Christmas together. What a wonderful surprise it was!

For the next several days we laughed and ate and laughed some more. There were hugs and reminiscing. And yes, even a few tears as they offered to share their strength with us during the upcoming challenges.

So here we go, into the new year, already one-fourth done with this chemo. People ask me if I couldn’t have waited to start. We couldn’t come up with good enough reasons not to. The new year may be ushered in quietly at our house but we are looking forward to it continuing to improve and by next Christmas all this hoopla will be but a small memory.

Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with opportunities to share love with family and friends!

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Phase Two

Today begins the second phase in this detour in the road. The past week we visited the chemotherapy doctor, had a class on chemo and toured the facility. This morning I will have a “port catheter” put in which is a direct intravenous line attached to a vein that is always accessible for medications. The drugs given for chemo are harsh and toxic. So much so that the doctor won’t take a chance that the IV leaks into the surrounding skin (hence, the port cath).

Following this minor surgery we’re off for a PET and heart scan. These are tests that I am familiar with from my years at the hospital in the nuclear medicine department. I shall endeavor to be a good patient and not whine about having to lie still. Both tests are done as baseline. The PET (positron emission tomography) scan is looking for any additional tumor cells that might have slipped out prior to surgery. The heart scan (called a MUGA for multi-gated acquisition) is done to look at the strength of my heart and make sure I am able to tolerate any damage done from the chemo drugs.

During our tour of the chemo lab we ran into a nurse who grew up best friends with one of Bob’s nieces. It’s a small world… and it will be nice having someone familiar around during the upcoming weeks.

As it stands today, this phase will take four months. There are three different medicines given at different stages every other week. The first two drugs are apparently guaranteed to make my hair fall out. My friend who is a five year survivor wrote me that without having to fix her hair she was finally able to beat her husband getting ready in the mornings.

The doctor and staff continue to reassure me that treatments are better managed than in years past still there is no doubt that these upcoming treatments will be wearing. But I’ve discovered (as I always knew) that we have a very strong support system in place through family and friends. I am reminded daily that there are a lot of people praying for us and giving us strength as we move forward. Some have asked how much Matthew realizes. I can’t say for sure but Sunday the pastor mentioned my name during closing prayers. Matthew reached over, patted my hand, and kissed my cheek. As always, he seems to see all and understand much more than we think.

So Friday afternoon I expect to be able to put a big check mark on my calendar. And phase two will be underway.

Chevy or Ford???

For most people today it’s probably not a big deal what “brand” of car you drive. But for some it is very important. I remember my brother getting dad a hat emblazoned with “I’d rather push a Chevy than drive a Ford…” When I was young we heard about the Boyles’ and Armstrong’s very different idea of what car is best. The Boyles were all Chevy people and the Armstrongs believed Fords were best. By the time we met the great uncles it wasn’t such a big thing (certainly no Hatfield’s and McCoy’s) but there still was plenty of ribbing.

“Ford stands for Fix Or Repair Daily…” and “Oh, you’ll have to push your Chevy alright since it won’t run…”

I think before Bob and I got married he was even quizzed to find out whether he was a Ford or Chevy man. (Luckily for me he drove only Chevrolet.)

The other day we noticed there were only Chevrolets in the drive. Those big Chevy trucks looked like Big Brother’s to Rebecca’s Cobalt. Then Rebecca moved her car to the garage and Bob’s Ford work truck was flanked by the Silverado’s. They appeared to be body guards for the Ford.

I’ll leave you with one parting thought: What did the Chevy say to the Ford?

“Would you like a ride home?”