Nadir. That’s the word that was bandied about a few times during our pre-chemo meeting. It means low point, especially as it pertains to white blood cells and other lab values. For example: “The nadir for your white cells will be 10-14 days after the chemo treatment”. That’s the period of time when the body is the weakest and is thus most susceptible to infections. But nadir, in a broader sense, can apply to other things as well.
For years, I have told people that my office is located at the nadir of Holman Road. If you’re familiar with this road, which connects the lovely areas of Greenwood with Crown Hill, you know that it dips down to roughly the QFC area before heading back up. For some reason, not sure why, I have gotten quite a few puzzled looks when I describe by office’s geography in such terms. Lately, I have switched my approach and tell them that my front door looks directly at the garbage cans of Luisa’s Mexican Restaurant. The lights go on. They all know where Luisa’s is, nadir or no nadir (great hand-rolled tortillas await you at check-in, by the way).
Another nadir can be moods or just plain feeling crummy. They warned us about that too. Nurse Janelle said that Gabrielle would feel the worst on days two and three after chemo and slowly improve for a couple of days before it all hits again. Well, that’s what we’re in right now. Nothing tastes good. I offered Gabrielle anything under the sun for breakfast, to which she said “no” to everything, but finally (more as a gesture to make me feel better, no doubt) agreed on letting me make her some bland pancakes with applesauce. She ate just over one. Didn’t sleep well last night. Stomach was churning and gurgling. Is still getting significant drainage from part of her abdominal incision. She is worried that all the medicine is leaking out, but I assured her that there is plenty that is sticking around to do the job, otherwise she wouldn’t feel so lousy.
She is wondering if she has the strength to do this for 18 weeks. I counter with the fact that she is the strongest person I know and that she will do fine. However there will be tough challenges along the way, like last night and today, but that she’ll get through them. One day at a time. Or as she likes to say, “Eyes on Jesus.” That’s a good place to focus, don’t you think?
The kids have made one of those paper chains that are popular around Christmas time to go on the tree right up along with strings of popcorn and ornaments made out of cellophane-wrapped sugar cookies. It’s got 126 links, one for each day. They have written encouraging notes or Bible verses on each one. Each day down, and another link comes off. Right now, it is draped along the banister. Eyes on the prize. We’ll get through this.
I also remind Gabrielle that the term “nadir” implies that the opposite also exists: zenith, or high point. You can’t very well have a nadir without that now, can you? To go back to my Holman Road analogy, zenith is an apt term, as at the Zenith of Holman Road, you will find such fine establishments as Dick’s Burgers (a Seattle institution that gives Inn ‘n Out Burgers a run for its money), Holy Grounds Coffee and Daniel’s favorite: Value Village. That’s the Crown Hill Zenith. The Greenwood Zenith has Bick’s where Rachel Ray once did an episode. They have one mighty tasty (albeit pricey) hamburger.
So the nadir of Gabrielle’s emotions and how she is feeling will soon give way to a zenith. Along the way, we look at little bright spots: the birds at the feeder outside the window, cheerful flowers, plants and cards, a bright, airy house which sure beats nine days of Room 440 at Northwest (no offense, you guys at Hotel Northwest were awesome…you just weren’t home).
And that’s Sunday. Thanks for your prayers and support. Now, if I can just talk Gabrielle into a trip to Dick’s or Bick’s, we’ll be making some real progress.