Yesterday was Boo’s actual birthday and Mr. LBB and I took pizza to her classroom for lunch. Boo gave me her crown to wear…..and I loved hearing all the little kids talk about my head.
It was Boo’s share day too…..and she wanted to bring a book that a sweet reader sent to us called Promises. We bookmarked the page with the mommy in bed with an IV so she could show her class. Boo said it looked just like us….she teared up as we read the story for the first time:
Boo had a great birthday night with just Me, Mr. LBB, her Mimi and Papa and cousin Jordan:
Some of my hair is growing back in places…..so I had to have Mr. LBB shave my head a little because…..I look like a chia pet!
Me: I look like a cancer patient!
Lisa: You are a cancer patient.
Me: Oh yeah……
So I met with Dr. L this afternoon. He just wanted to see me before I go into another round of the Cisplatinum chemo so soon. My blood counts are really good though….just platelets are slowing down a little. So tomorrow is a go! I’ll be there for another 8 hour drip. And they’ll do more blood work. My body seems to be handling it really well. My white blood cells have yet to be under 4,000 despite 15 straight weeks of chemotherapy. My kidneys did great through the first cycle. That’s an answer to prayer. I joke with my family that maybe I’m a part of some secret government research project and they are giving me the placebo. Maybe those big bags are just sugar water! Dr. L is just being really careful because we have to be really aggressive but there’s a fine line…..and if we cross it he’d have to delay chemo for a few weeks and we know my type of cancer takes breaks as an opportunity to rapidly spread.
So…Dr. L dictates while he’s still in the room with patients….which I think is AWESOME. I get to hear EXACTLY what he thinks about what’s going on…….honestly. If he says something out of the ordinary I can ask him about it. The only thing that kind of gets old is hearing:
1st line chemotherapy Methotrexate: ineffective
2nd line chemotherapy EMA-CO: mixed response
3rd line chemotherapy EP-EMA: still to be determined
I asked him “um, how many more lines ARE there?” His response: basically one…..where I’ll get EP-EMA in smaller doses five days in a row. My blood work tomorrow should tell us if the current regimen is doing anything. My gut feeling is that results will be good. My pelvis isn’t hurting as bad…..so maybe the tumors are shrinking! Dr. L says I’m not his typical patient…..I never seem worried, or scared or sad. So he always asks “I know YOU are doing okay, but how is your husband. How is your family?”
My aunt Sharon recently sent me a package with some things that were my great grandmother’s…..including the photo below. It’s been sitting on my desk for a week or so and tonight it reminded me of something I wrote in one of my old journals that I’ll share below.
First, I’m so grateful for this photo because I always imagined such a painful picture of my great grandmother…and I love that she looks so joyful and carefree. Second, I’m grateful for this story even though it’s a sad one: My great grandmother Mabel was married when she was only 16 years old and had one child: my grandmother Marjorie (Marge). As Marge was growing up, Mabel would spend most of her time confined to a bed suffering from debilitating headaches. Mabel had many hospital stays and everyone assumes she most likely underwent electroshock therapy. There was no treatment that was able to alleviate these headaches. After prolonged spells, Mabel’s eyes would be black and bruised and her hair would literally fall out in chunks. There was one day when my grandmother Marge was getting a permanent at the salon and tried to call home to Mabel to check in. There was no answer. Marge panicked and quickly had the rods taken out of her freshly rolled hair and nervously rode the bus all the way home. After what was probably the longest bus trip of her life…..Marge hurried into the house to check on her mother, I’m sure expecting the worst. My grandmother Marge could see up to her parent’s bedroom from the base of the steps……and she caught a glimpse of her mother putting away a gun under the bed. It wasn’t to be that day….but my great-grandmother Mabel eventually did end her life. It was the morning after Christmas….and Mabel was supposed to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. She said “I will never go to the hospital again” and she meant it. My great grandfather George found her……she had put her head into the gas oven to asphyxiate herself by carbon monoxide poisoning. I can’t imagine the pain Mabel was in to have to resort to that.
Sylvia Plath had electroshock therapy, she tried to take her life in 1953 with sleeping pills and she eventually put her head into an oven too. There are many parallels so I’ve always had this fascination with Sylvia Plath…..thinking maybe I’d learn more about Mable that way. I’ve read every single one of SP’s unabridged journals and I’ve filled my own journals with snippets here and there. I’m sure Sylvia never imagined in a million years that I’d be reading her journals and requoting them in my own. Here’s a page from one of my journals (not dated, but around 2003):
Write about your own experience. By that experience someone else may be a bit richer some day. Read widely of others’ experiences in thought and action – stretch to others even thought it hurts and strains and would be more comfortable to snuggle back into the comforting cotton-wool of blissful ignorance. Hurl yourself at goals above your head and bear the lacerations that come when you slip and make a fool of yourself. Try always as long as you have breath in your body to take the hard way, the Spartan way – and work, work, work to build yourself into a rich continually evolving entity.
– Sylvia Plath
I love that I can read SP’s experience…..it’s the next best alternative to being able to read about my great grandmother’s. I think I can relate a little about the chunks of hair falling out too. It’s also why I document my own experience….for my daughter and her daughter……or for anyone else who might want to read it some day. Think about journaling….or even recording stories onto CD…..you might make someone else a bit richer some day.
Phew, that was a tangent……but I just wanted to check in today! I have a long day tomorrow at chemo….and hopefully the wifi is working well 🙂 Maybe they’ll let me take my IV outside in the sun for a while.
Oh, P.S. Choose Joy!