Saturday, October 6, 2018

10/6/18 Post-chemo day update

Dear Family and Friends,

Why am I in my pajamas looking out at the beautiful, sunny fall day instead of out walking in it?  Because it’s the day after chemo and a nauseous stomach requires being still.  I had great counts for chemo day—strong neutrophils (white cells that fight infection), strong platelets (that clot blood), and my hematocrit was 27 (if it drops two more points I will get a transfusion), but this is enough red blood cells to allow me to walk 2-3 miles on the flat—just no hills or stairs. 

I was very tired arriving at chemo at 8:30 AM yesterday and my sweet chemo nurse, Jocelyn, gave me a private room with a bed!  I didn’t even mind that Daniel beat me at Scrabble, I was just so happy to be lying down! 

Best news of all is my CA-125 tumor marker dropped from 700 to 452!  We need to get it to 35 or under, so we have a long way to go, but having started at 3,000, we are making great progress!  And one more piece of good news—I went to get my fluid drained from my abdomen this week and they said there wasn’t enough to drain!  This means my liver tumor is shrinking and not making as much fluid anymore.  Hooray!

On another note, my family and I went through a difficult thing this week.  We had a dreaded family meeting.  When our kids were little, all you needed to fill them with fear was to tell them we were going to have a family meeting!  This one was probably the hardest one ever, because we wanted to go over “final things” so that we can be prepared for when my time comes. 

My goal is to die at home with the help of Providence Hospice and my core team—Steve, Renée, Riley, and Daniel (plus Adrienne if she’s here).  We will enjoy Christian music and hymns, soft lighting, prayers, Frasier episodes, and a pastor visit.  We will entertain limited visits from my closest friends and family when I feel up to it.  And of course, we will be glad to hit the morphine pump when pain dictates we do so!

We also went over final documents like wills, powers of attorney, health care directives, beneficiary designation forms, how to pay different bills, etc.  Lastly, I have made DVDs for Steve, Renee, Daniel and Jericho, which are kept with my will.  I think they will love having some final words from me (with perhaps some dances and singing thrown in just for fun)! 

After the family meeting, we needed a little lightening up, so we drove out to Snohomish for some mini golf.  The wind across the flats definitely let us know that summer has given way to fall.  It was a fun way to cap off a stressful afternoon, even if Steve's little pink golf ball needed a few more strokes than Daniel’s blue one to find the holes. 

I hope you and your family don’t need a dreaded family meeting anytime soon!  But it does feel better knowing we are all on the same page with my wishes and are somewhat prepared for when the time comes.  Hopefully, thanks to your prayers and God’s mercy, that time will be a LONG time from now! 

I will close with this writing I love by Anne Lamott:  “Grief is holy ground.  Death is as sacred as birth.  Don’t worry!  Almost every single death is easy and gentle with the very best people surrounding you for as long as you need or want.  You won’t be alone.  They’ll help you cross over to Heaven that awaits you.  When all is said and done, we’re really all just walking each other home.” 

Well, back to my resting.  I have to be rested before Jericho comes tomorrow.  We will take him to Sunday school, then work on biking without training wheels (!), and as a reward, he gets to help bake pumpkin bars with cream cheese icing and little candy corn pumpkins on top.  A great day will be had by all!

With love and gratitude,

Butternut squash and spinach enchiladas at Cactus!  We boated over to the one in Kirkland.

My boating/eating partners!

Posing by our favorite animal sculpture--rabbits!

Daniel's homemade fresh raspberry lemon cupcakes. The icing is his homemade lemon curd and mascarpone.  Delicious!

Jericho feeding ducks at Green Lake!

Lots of little friends.

Daniel and I made homemade ravioli this week.  Two kinds--cheeses and sundried tomatoes in pink sauce and butternut squash and browned butter with sage.

Mini golf in the freezing wind!

Quick--get me to the warm car with the heated seats!  Daniel won!

In goes Jericho! 
Riley didn't think this lavender bridesmaid dress would look good on her, but she is lovely as always!

My greatest life's achievement was raising these two amazing young adults!