Friday, January 25, 2013

Finished first chemo treatment!

Dear Friends & Family,

Hallelujah!  We made it through my first chemo appointment!  Only 17 to go!!!

It was a long day--six hours.  The blood work took longer than normal before we could start, so next week I will go in on Thursday for the blood work and then we will be all set to start the chemo at 10:30 on Friday. 

My three chemo nurses are wonderful.  Great bedside manner and very comforting throughout the process.  They explained everything really well and checked on me continually.  They even let me order lunch (which is a freebie with your chemo if you are there for four hours or more...there is such thing as a free lunch) and brought me lots of bottles of water.  Daniel was with me the whole time and Steve about half the time.  He also had to get some paperwork done at work.  We played Estimate (my favorite card game) and I was easily beaten this time as they give you Benadryl with your chemo.  Rather woozy!  We played Scrabble, which I won before the Benadryl kicked in.  We watched Top Chef "Last Chance Kitchen" online on Daniel's computer.  And Daniel said a beautiful prayer of thanks when we were done.  Tonight we will read our daily devotional together in "Jesus Calling" and in the One-Year Bible and pray again.  Prayer is becoming like breathing.  Frequent, steady, life-giving. 

When we got home, I went on a round the block walk with Steve, going "slightly" farther than our last walk.  I had to stop several times to shake back and forth (think Chubby Checkers "do the twist") to slosh the chemo in my belly around real well.  Unfortunately, when we got home, a bunch of fluid (hopefully more the saline than the medicine) had "leaked" out of part of my abdominal scar that is not fully healed in only two weeks' time.  Now I'm going to lay down and flop back and forth in a lying position to continue spreading the chemo and hopefully, not having too much more drip out while lying down!  Really enjoyed the walk though on such a pretty, cheerful day.

At chemo I met a new friend who has given me her name/number to call her anytime.  She was diagnosed 11 years ago with stage 4 ovarian cancer.  She has had lots of remission since then but is currently experiencing a recurrence and beginning chemo again. I was very encouraged, however, to meet a stage 4 patient who is ALIVE after 11 years!  This was a sweet note of encouragement from the Lord!

And speaking of encouragement...oh my goodness!  When I got home from the hospital, you won't BELIEVE what was on my porch (it's like every day is Christmas)!  Our cousin Robby and his wife, Becky, sent me an authentic autographed picture of Kelsey Grammar (Frasier) for me--his biggest fan!  Most of you know Frasier is my favorite comedy of all time and I have seen all episodes about ten times.  I will treasure this photo.  Thanks, R & B, for such a thoughtful gift!

But wait, there's more!  There was a gorgeous flower arrangement from two of my dear friends from my Children's days, Bruce and Jeannie.  Happy memory with Bruce--went to his house one night and told him the downtown Nordstrom store didn't have my favorite work shoes and never offered to order them, so I assumed they were out of production.  The next morning I got a call from Bruce saying "Gabrielle, I have your shoes--they are shipping in today!" I couldn't believe it that such a busy man would take time to do this kindness for me!  Favorite Jeannie memories--two lovely spa vacations together and eating my first grapefruit right off the tree at B & J's Palm Springs home.  I still wear the light blue "moon" nightshirt that Jeannie gave me on our spa trip, which was over my b-day weekend!  Thanks so much, B & J, for the flowers and lovely card about your thoughts and prayers for me.  Speaking of my birthday, which is coming up on 2/18, I wonder if I will have any appetite to go out to dinner or if we will just stay home.  We are about to cancel our Canlis reservation for Valentine's Day (sob) as I just can't eat enough to make it worth paying for that special night with a five-course pre fixe menu.  Oh well--NEXT Valentine's day we can go and I will even have my own hair all grown back!

But wait, there's MORE!  Two other dear Children's friends, Bill and Luanna, sent me the largest basket of Harry and David fruits you ever did see!  Apples, pears, kiwis, limes, avocados, and mangos!  Fruit tastes really good to me these days and I quickly had Daniel slice me some apple to go with my "fatten me up" snack of two saltines topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Delicious apple!  Thank you, Bill and Luanna, for this perfect gift and your prayers and love.

And even MORE, there were two more cards in the mail from two friends at work, Kristi and Maribeth, that made me smile with such sweet sentiments.  And an awesome encouraging e-mail from my friend, Ted.  Thanks to all of you who heretofore have not been mentioned in the blog for your gifts, cards, etc.  I have been trying to get out thank you notes with Daniel's help but we can't keep up.  So I will try to thank people in the blog going forward and shoot a text or e-mail when I can.  OK?  Every kindness means the world to me.  I feel I am not alone in this battle.  You are all with me.  I have never felt so blessed in my life. 

Jesus summed up the greatest commandment by saying we should love God and love our neighbor as ourself.  His love is poured out to me right now through all the love you are showing to me, your friend ("neighbor").  To love and be loved--what could be more important in life?  What an amazing rope team I have.  One foot in front of the either, one day, one hour at a time and we will summit this mountain called ovarian cancer.  The view from the top and coming down the other side will be magnificent!

Love to you all,

Gabrielle and her main T.V. squeeze


  1. Yay! Day one down! Sending lots of love and prayers, Gabrielle.

  2. Miss you every day, but especially today - SPU's Homecoming. Ditto what Kristi said, love and prayers. :) xo

  3. Love your photo with Frasier! SO fun! Glad day 1 is done and you are hangin' in! And what a gift to meet that survivor! We know you are, too! You are so loved! I pray you feel His (Jesus', not Frasier's!) loving arms around you tonight as you sleep!

  4. Gabrielle, I just wanted you to know that my family and I are thinking of you always. My husband is also thinking of you as what you are going through is the same as what his mother went through and he wants you to know he/we are praying for you. From what Dr.Dudley says you are a very smart, strong and wonderful woman and I know you will conquer all.

    Thinking of you,

    Kristen Kiernan/ Michael Kiernan
    Doctors Express Urgent Care