An even longer round today. Still at the H. Kath’s platelets were technically too low to get a full blast of chemo so the options were delay, or reduce the poisons by 20%. OK, reduction then. Her doctor ordered repeats on her blood work to check if things were going in the right direction at least. They were. Platelets were at 68 instead of 66 from the day before. Although is that just in the margin of error ? What does Nate Silver say? Normal person’s is 150. Cut off is 90 for chemo. Kath has done it at 75. That delayed the start until 11 which means we are here until 9pm. Chemo suite usually closes at ~ 6pm. So as not to keep the chemo nurses for 14hours, we are back up on the hospital ward on the 6th floor for the last few infusions. While people look rough getting chemo, you forget how hard up people are in the cancer ward. Kath looks positively healthy in comparison.
We are hanging out in a room with 2 other people. Its not really like the ward rooms from the surgery section. One of the areas here is totally glassed off to isolate a person and the old gal next to us is in relatively good shape. Relatively. They tend to keep the folks with bowl issues at the other end of the hall thank goodness, so there are no overwhelming smells to contend with. But you notice the difference, or at least your brain tells you its different just on the smell. Not that I am worried I am going to catch something, although I had a bit of a scare when peeing. An alarming colour ?!?! WTF !?!? Oh right, I had a big portion of beet salad for lunch 🙂 No, I worry of course if Kathleen will be here again. not short term. Not due to side issues like infection. Hmmm. I still find it a little hard to write the words. Will Kathleen be here because of the cancer to die in the near term ? Of course the worry is there. I find it better to look and define those dark places than leave them unsaid to fester. Scary monsters are worse when they stay in that poorly defined part of our imagination.
Around round 5 or 6, I remember passing a guy in the hall who was asking a nurse where his wife was. “I got a call saying my wife had slipped into a coma. Is she here, or upstairs?” He was so calm and matter of fact about it. Younger than me. Maybe mid 30s ? I am not there yet. Do you become numb to it all, or do you have some sort of calm acceptance like that? Maybe it was taking every ounce of energy to hold it together. But I remember back last April, I could not even say the words, “Kathleen has cancer” without breaking down. I am thankfully not on the same part of …. I want to say, ‘road,’ but its not a road. More like a spot on a conveyor belt. If it were a road, I would get the hell off at the next exit! Hopefully the belt will dump us out well before where that guy was with his wife.
Two more rounds to go. Kath is a little worried her nodes are getting bigger. Her neck pain has been back a little and she has more tenderness around her liver area when we were meeting with the Pain & Symptom team on Wednesday. But not so much the next day. When its the cancer, it doesnt get better like that. While worrisome, I think we are getting a little better at living with bad signs as it didnt seem to freak us out as much as it used to. I think thats a good thing as it allows us to have some normality in our lives. Although sometimes I think its like the engineer coming to the bridge of the Titanic, “Captain, we have a fire below deck”…. Bigger things to worry about. Actually, we dont yet know if our boat is called the Titanic. Hopefully its called ….”THE LOVVVVVVVVE BOAT”!!! Haha, I put that awful song in your head!
Yes, we still talk and try and laugh about everything. Everything 🙂
I like your analogy to the “Loveboat”.It sure beats the “Titanic”! I know what you mean by earlier references to “cancer”. I could hardly put that dreaded word and Kathleen’s name in the same sentence.Now I am just happy that she’s still here and still fighting. I am not denying what the end of the journey is, but all any of us has is Today! And I’ll take that gratefully. You two are wonderful examples of affection and fortitude.I admire you so much. I love you both.Keep on fightin’ ! Love Elaine/Mom
Sent from my iPad
Hey you two! Here’s one…”can you feel the love tonight.. (Think of me singing )From the “Lion King”. I’m going to hum that all night and see your smiles in my mind. Hoping you feel the love tonight…fran
Mike and Kathleen,
Happy New Year!!
What a great write-up. I think you are the polar opposite of my husband when it comes to expressing himself…actually… I know you are are.
… and I can’t believe you are worried that you would be catching something from chemo patients… it’s the other way around! they need to worry about you 😉
Anyway, sending much love from SoCal. I’d say I’m sending warm thoughts but it’s been quite cool down here lately!
Set a course for adventure your mind on a new romance…. Looovvveee….
Love you both,
yes Mike, thanks for this post. how ’bout we all visualize your loveboat and see what happens! big love, jan
(see you in 4 sleeps)
You are amazing. That you are both able to maintain a certain lightness of being amidst everything you are going through and able to put into words your deepest fears is so utterly breathtaking. I have to say my keyboard was sprinkled with tears of pure emotion reading that complete honesty. I wish you a good night and even better day tomorrow.
lots of hugs your way,
Dear Mike and Kathleen,
Keep sending the happy , smiling photos – laughter in the face of adversity. I dont remember the loveboat song, but I love the image.
You two beat the Hell out of “LOVEBOAT” come on “ETERNITY”
What a day you have had! It’s nothing short of a miracle already, the love and strength you share! You should have your very own Loveboat as your namesake. Keep up this extraordinary fight!
Here, here, Elaine…..such true words…..all we have is today…..I do wish Kathleen didnt have to spend her “today” being treated for a disease but rather complaining about bad weather, sore back, not enough money, too much money (lol), grumpy people…like most of us. Kathleen & Mike have shed alot of light on all our lives…..our complaints are miracles to be cherished….some are big ….but if we are still standing ….today is always a good day…..Everyday should be cherished, even if it sucks (stole that from somewhere, copyright infringement….big lawsuit….media scandal to come). Thanks sharing…..always cheerleading for you both….ra! ra!
Dear Kathleen and Mike,
This photo captures two beautiful loving people. Thank you for sharing your words, your thoughts, your feelings so freely and so brilliantly and always with a fantastic touch of humour and positivity. You two are amazing. For some reason the Roxy Music song from the 70’s “Love is the Drug” is going through my head. There are words in the chorus that make me think of the two of you. “Oh catch that buzz, Love is the Drug I am thinking of”. I don’t have a medical or science background, but I’d say that particular drug is one that is more than working for you and one that you have in large quantities. Thinking of you both and sending love and hugs from soggy Ottawa.
Both of you are amazinfg and very brave. Love to see your smiling faces and hear the updates. Thanks for the warning about the smellis at the bowel end of the hall. Sorry to say my Dad is having surgery next Monday and will likely be at that end since it’s Colorectal cancer. Lots and hugs and prayer to both of you. Keep singing the Love boat theme.
It loses something without formatting, but you get it…
Do you think Issac can make me a Caesar? Thanks Mike, now I have to find another song to get this theme out of my head. Keep up the good fight, …. damn, song still there………..Sending big hugs and kisses from the greater white north, snow sucks but snowshoes will get used this year. 🙂
Thinking of both of you – sending hugs, love and prayers your way.
Kath and Mike, greetings from Liberia. It’s very hot and humid here. One feels awful turning on the AC as people in this country spend more on energy than anywhere else in the world–effects of a 10 year war that destroyed all infrastructure from roads to electricity generation. Things are beginning to pick up though, more donors here than you ca imagine. I am thinking of you often and I really look forward to see you soon. Alice
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