Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thirty...for a couple of us

Nate just turned thirty the same week I completed my thirtieth session with a chemotherapy infusion. As I’ve mentioned before, we're promised short sets because upon hearing that 30 are forthcoming, the odds are better that you’ll stop than continue. All in all, however, it went fairly smoothly.

Didn’t spend the night in Good Samaritan, went home feeling rather well. Had some upset overnight, followed by a relatively good second day. Fatigue was an issue, appetite was poor, but for the most part it went quickly. (Now that I’m awaiting a golf tournament and feeling really well, that’s easy enough to say. You’ll note that it took more than a week from the infusion for me to feel well enough to update The Journey…)

Big events during the week included Nate’s birthday, baseball’s Opening Day, and iPhone Day for Mark. Now the kids think I’m as goofy as the rest of we Appleseeds, texting more often and checking out phone software applications. Don’t we all need a level at our wrist, just because we can? Isn’t it important to be able to check on flight status while we’re in the line at a burger shop, rather than typing into the computer? My favorite, so far, is the ability to look at traffic cameras across the Portland metro area, and determine whether I’m avoiding or running into a traffic jam. Of course, since I’m on medical leave, I’m not commuting in the first place. It will be handy, though, when I go back. Now my favorite gearheads, Jon and Carrie Ellen, have nothing on me.

We shoot diagnostic pictures again at the end of the month. I’ll post information on results as soon as I have them. For now, I’m all scheduled for dental repair work and my visit with the oncologist before returning to work on May 4. It works out that I’ll have my teeth fixed in time for the big exhibit opportunities coming up in May…a good thing for work so that I won’t look like I’ve been hauled in from some freeway off-ramp to cover for “the sick guy.”

Should the diagnostics go according to plan, we’re done. If we find that there are remaining areas of concern, we wait ‘til fall and attack them again with more heavy artillery than this last five sessions involved. No one knows which ordnance will really work the best at this point, so I’m aiming at the diagnostics at month end…and not worrying about the alternatives too much. Better to look on the bright side!

Lately, either fortunately or unfortunately, I've been able to offer suggestions and listen to people who have relatives enduring chemotherapy, or starting their own cancer journeys. Certainly doesn’t make me an expert, to have run down this road, but perhaps I can provide insight that others find important or helpful. Oddly enough, hearing of the trials of others doesn’t really put me in a funk. It would be easy to think, “Oh, great…now I have that to anticipate.” What happens, though, is that I feel so badly for the family members, loved ones and supporters that I just offer up my thoughts freely. I know it is harder for all of them, as it has been for my support team.

One last thought before I go. A few months ago, I compared this effort to standing at the zoo and hopping into the lion’s den when a child needed help. This past week, you may have seen video of some gal hopping into a polar bear den…when there were no children involved. There is a significant difference, that was just plain nuts. Were we supposed to be surprised when the polar bear went after her? Idiocy takes all forms, I guess. When you think “lion’s den” think persistence, courage and concern for others. When you think “polar bear den” remember “idiot!”


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