Greetings, Dear Ones,
OK, Dennis and I went up for the third infusion of gemcitabine in this first series of chemo. We get next week to rest up. Then we will do two more series of three infusions with a Friday off in between. Does that make sense? I hope so, because I’m always unclear on the concept. We have six remaining infusions…and this phase of chemo is complete. From there, it is surveillance, where Dr. Mulvihill and Dr. Jones will surveil on a regular basis. This will be an interesting transition…a little like free-fall. I can hardly imagine what it will be like sculpting days without chiseling programmed appointments at HCI into our regular routine. What do people do with all that time? Clean house? Oh please, say it ain’t so! How does one organize life to give full recognition to difficulties without being victimized by them? And what should I put on my grocery list? So many questions, so little time. Oh well, we don’t have to cross those bridges now.
I just want to focus on some lovely numbers. Dennis’ vitals are quite pretty: temp – 96.6; pulse: - 83; oxygen: - 99. In addition, brace yourself…he is tipping the scales at a buxom 109 ½!!! But the sweetest number of all is 36. As of Friday, his tumor marker was 36. 36! According to Dr. Jones, this is
We went to get some pre-emergent for our lawn, but were told we were a little tardy for pre-emergent. (I suggested we try my own personal pre-emergent, but Dennis didn’t think Red Bull would promote lawn growth.) He also nixed the idea of sprinkling gemcitabine, citing the fact it might leave a carbon footprint the size of New Jersey. The guy has no imagination! The man at Smith’s referred us to a product called (and this is the unvarnished truth) …”Liquified Worm Poop.” Now I admit I am not savvy on worm physiology. I was granted conscientious objector status by my biology professor, so I didn’t have to dissect the critters. Being conscious to take the tests seemed to be a major consideration.(However, after seeing Dr. Mulvihill’s 8x10 glossies of Dennis’ Whipple, I have been radically de-sensitized to anything visually disturbing. Worm guts would be a walk in the park!) I’m not exactly sure just how they harvest worm poop, but it did conjure up visions of worm colonies being fed a steady diet of prune juice and laxatives. Anyway, we passed on the liquid worm poop (no pun intended) and decided to just dig up whatever doesn’t look like lawn. In our domain, that could be anything from crabgrass to grandkids.
We are quite pleased with Dennis’ ability to tolerate this third-phase of chemo. He has some nausea, but is able to manage. There has been minor hair down-sizing, but the scalp looks healthy, pink and shiny. It even allows for lipstick application when mirrors are not available. He is also taking nutrition by mouth, and visions of peristalsis dance in his digestive system. I’m just glad he isn’t going through simultaneous radiation. Talk about “scorched earth.!” Dennis continues to absorb, which is very efficient because it goes all through the night. And when we wake up in the morning, he is fat and squishy. We are so used to the ubiquitous tube feedings that we think of them as “Canned Chub.” And each container is filled with densely packed calories just waiting to morph into more Dennis. The guy has plenty of backbone… but it is less apparent. He is becoming more visually perceptible, and will soon be his old self …a “hunka, hunka burnin’ love!”
Actually, we can never be the same again. And this is OK. We realize that there are no guarantees, but we have never asked for guarantees…only hope. We know the source of that commodity, and we have it in abundance. Sometimes it seems we have been skiing this black diamond slope a long time, with all its inherent hazards. But we are grateful for storms that make us aware of whom we can rely on. Confronting difficult predicaments has given us greater wisdom and understanding and renewal. And it has clarified for us just what it is we value most. Each of you has helped us impose order on the chaos with your optimism, love and prayers. We are better people because of your friendship. Please know of our deep and sincere appreciation.
Our Love to All,