Its round fourteen today– round 4 of the FOLFIRI. Kath is napping post benadryl, which is one of the drugs to deal with her allergic reaction to one of the chemo drugs. Like last time, her Wednesday platelet count was too low, so repeat count again this morning. Sixty Four on Wednesday, 90 today. Good enough. Kath was hoping to do full strength chemo, but chemo doc thinks it would knock her back too much. Eighty percent again. Still, its full strength for what her body can take.
We are approaching the 1yr ‘anniversary’ of her diagnosis. April 20th, 2012. 2012, cancer year. I dont want to say a shitty year, because, well, we had some beautiful moments in there too, that despite the horrible context of cancer, I would not want to forget nor give up. Our day at Port Burwell, our 25th anniversary party, our gallium waltz. There were still some “our” moments in there and there were still some of those wonderful simple moments we loved. Coffee at Nougat on Saturdays and just enjoying each other’s company.
I am not entirely sure why I don’t think much about the anniversary. I think partly because we are so focused on living one day at a time. That’s part of the price though. When you do live day by day and in the ‘now’, you by definition have to give up the long view, both forward and I guess backward. If you look too far down the road, it becomes overwhelming.
I remember last April looking through some 2,000 emails in the duodenal cancer mailing list archive to see what might be in store for Kathleen. A woman, not much older than Kathleen, suffered through daily nausea and vomiting for some 6 months before succumbing to her disease. It was early on and vomiting was a *constant* issue for Kathleen and that was in the hospital. We didn’t have all the tools at home like IV gravol. We didn’t even know we could get IV medication at home that we could self manage. “Holy shit” I remember thinking to myself. How will she get through that ? Now we have the “club pack” of IV gravol in the fridge among other meds and we could probably start our own reality TV show, “Medical Supply Hoarders”– “You can never have enough saline flushes!” would be my tag line. We even have an ‘upstairs’ IV tree and a ‘downstairs’ IV tree. The upstairs one even has a ‘headlight’ on it so she can go to the bathroom at night. You adapt. Its in all of us actually. Adaptation that is. Some much appreciated advice I took to heart from Anne P, early on. There is more strength in us all to get through these things than we know.
I look around the chemo suite today and its the usual cross section of people. Everyone from hard scrabble construction worker with tattoo sleeves to someone who looks ready to chair the CIBC annual shareholder’s meeting, and everything in between. Everyone gets the same first class care and there is something comforting about being a part of that cross section. — Note, Kathleen gets better than first class because, well, she is Kathleen 🙂 Its not the rich people’s ward, or the ‘university educated ward’, its everyone from your community. There is something comforting about it that makes you feel a little less alone. Whatever the reason you get it or who you are, you are all there together. You draw on your own inner strength, but also on that community you are in. Thankfully, we are in a really awesome one.
Overall, this was a much better chemo round. I think the ring side judges would score it 3-0 in Kathleen’s favor. She had a great Easter with her family and via wheel chair got out to do her retail therapy at the mall with her brother Drew. As an added bonus, she finally found Angela Merkel’s orange purse at Winners which she was totally excited about. A few years ago, while at some G-8 meeting, there she was in her obligatory dower grey suite with all the other grey leaders on the BBC. But, when they got up from the table, Angela whipped out this bright orange purse that screamed a bit of defiant style, which Kathleen immediately noticed and remarked upon! So, when Kath found it trolling through Winners, she was most excited!
Four weeks from now will be the next scan. We will worry about it then and enjoy now as much as we can.