Steve here (thought I’d throw that in up front in case you think you’re getting the real deal with one of Gabrielle’s star-studded entries…just doin’ the full disclosure so you know what you’re getting).
I don’t know anybody named Ned. As a matter of fact, until today, I had never really thought much about Ned. It’s a non-descript sort of name, don’t you think? My apologies to all the Neds out there, but it’s just that I haven’t run across too many members of the Cool Ned Club (CNC) till now (more about that later). Ask me about Ned and three come to mind. Ned Beatty…now there’s a Hollywood hunk if I ever saw one, a veritable heartthrob Brad Pitt look-alike. Then there’s Ned Kelly, an infamous Australian bushranger who made a suit of armor and terrorized the Aussie authorities till he was captured and unceremoniously hung for his indiscretions. And then there’s good old lovable Ned Flanders, of The Simpsons fame. I don’t know much about that Ned, as I never had the Simpsons on when the kids were little, being too fearful that they’d grow up telling me “don’t have a cow, Man!” or “eat my shorts!”
And that about sums up the Neds I know, or know of. Oh, except when Gabrielle’s friend Maribeth was dating this guy named Ed (now her husband), I kept referring to him as Ned in the hopes that when Gabrielle finally met him, she’d get his name wrong, but she was on to me. I had succeeded once before with a friend from church, Tom Bush. I kept saying “George Bush, George Bush” over and over again and sure enough, she fell for it. We got invited to his house once and she extended a big warm handshake and said, “You must be George Bush!”
But back to Ned. Gabrielle is now the newest, proudest, most vocal member of the Cool NED Club. No, she doesn’t have pictures of Ned Beatty on her wall. Rather, in medical terms, NED stands for (wait for it!) NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE!!! Can’t get much better than that, can you? We met with her oncologist today who came in with a big smile on her face and told us the good news. The PET scan showed shrinkage of all the previously concerning areas to the point where they just weren’t there (mostly lymph nodes, but also metastases in the liver). The PET scan looks for metabolically active areas of cancer and there was no uptake, nada, zilch! Anywhere! Gotta say it again, just for fun: NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE! This is not the same as it being completely gone forever and ever, but it is great news, much better than we had hoped to get and we are over the moon happy.
Afterward, Gabrielle had this massive smile on her face all day long. We went on a walk, and everything was wonderful. “Look at those wonderful flowers!” “Look at that cute saying some kids wrote on the wall in chalk!” “Look at the pretty dog!” She even told the lady at Central Market that she was having a great day and explained why. And the checker was almost as delighted as Gabrielle (though I’m not sure the people behind her, waiting to buy their groceries were quite as thrilled to have to wait longer). We went on a boat ride to celebrate and grabbed food before we got on board. Comments throughout the day included: “Best shrimp roll ever!” “Isn’t Mt. Rainier pretty today!” “Oh, look at the boats in all the pretty colors!” “Boy, isn’t the water temperature great!” And there was even some praise for yours truly, “You don’t sweat too much for an old guy!” Basically, this is a description of someone on Cloud 9, as the newest member of the Cool NED Club. You can’t really blame her can you? After all, she has been in chemo for a year and a half straight. It’s time for a well-earned break from it, and we are all delighted. She has been a long-suffering warrior in this battle, facing it with grace, faith, dignity and good humor, way better than I could muster, that’s for sure.
Thanks so much to all of you for your prayers, good wishes, support, cards, and simply for being there for us. Gabrielle is so blessed to have such good friends in her life. And now, she is on to a new task. She’s starting to compile a list of all the foods she wants to eat now that it won’t all taste like metal. First up: find a great Italian restaurant in Seattle. Any suggestions, folks? After that, her tastes increase in price. I heard she was going to be looking into plane tickets soon for some trips she plans to take. Oh, and she just told me that I should plan on working till I’m 88 to pay for it all. Fair enough! At this point, I’m feeling pretty good myself, so I have plenty of gas in the tank (at least for now).
I will end by saying that when we got home from our Cloud 9 walk, Cloud 9 lunch, and Cloud 9 boat ride, we were greeted by an amazing tray of Ina Garten’s salted caramel brownies made by Daniel as a way of celebrating the good news! Can’t wait to dig in!
Yep, it’s a good day!
|Daniel's Surprise for Gabrielle--her favorite salted caramel chocolate brownies!|