Gabrielle here. Please bear with me as I share some random thoughts quickly...because Steve is calling me to watch a Foyle's War on this Friday night!
- Daniel and I made it safely home from Vancouver late Wed. night. We had the BEST time ever! The weather was sunny and about 65 to 70 degrees. Our four-star hotel, in the center of downtown, purchased through Hotwire where you don't know what hotel you are getting ahead of time, was only $119 and was excellent (The Sutton Place). We walked until we dropped. Probably not the best plan for someone four/five days out from a double chemo, but on the first day we walked about 8 miles, around Stanley Park and shopping on Robson street. On the second day, we walked from our hotel to Granville Island, then over the Burrard St. bridge and down to the beach path that runs back toward Stanley park, up Denman St. through "West End" Vancouver, up Robson for more shopping, over to Hudson Bay Co., then to the hotel and back to the metro skytrain to get to the train station. Probably ten miles total. Need I say, yesterday and today, I am recovering. So tired!!! But it was so worth it. Steve always says, "better to burn out than rust out!" The train ride to/from Vancouver is gorgeous, snaking along the sea for most of the way. We played Scrabble and I read my entire Maine Coast travel book! Lastly, if you go, be sure to eat cod or halibut and chips at "Go Fish" at Granville Island, the blueberry bread at "Terra Breads", and gelato at "Gelarmony Gelato" on Robson street. Thanks to my friend Janet (and probably others) who prayed I would be able to taste and enjoy my food on this trip. I did! :-)
- Next up, Renee's turn. I am about to book a Spa day for the two of us at Willows Lodge in Woodinville. Massages, exfoliation of dry skin (!), manicures, pedicures, jacuzzi, spa cuisine lunch. Here we come on a Monday in the near future (Renee's day off). Will report back! And I can't wait to have Renee spend all of Sunday with us this weekend. I miss my sweetpea.
- While Daniel and I were gone, Steve put our boat back in the water with the help of friend/neighbor Jerry, after spring cleaning it, then Steve attended a seminar to learn how to go "shrimping" for spot prawns. It has a very short season--like two to four days total in a year (!)--and he bought two pots and lines and so much gear that some spot prawns had BETTER be in our future. If he limits at 80 prawns on his first try, they will be about $5 bucks a prawn. Those better be amazing prawns!! He is over the moon with excitement. Daniel and Renee will join us on this adventure that begins at the boat at 6:15 AM the day after next week's chemo. Aaaaahhhh!
- Daniel and I survived single chemo #14 today! It was SO long. The pharmacy at the hospital doesn't seem to like me. They take forever to come back with my blood counts and then forever again to deliver my chemo drugs. We arrived at 9 AM and left at 2 PM...the longest single chemo time yet. But fear not, we made good use of our time watching "Two Weeks Notice" with Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock, playing two feisty games of Scrabble (each won one), and reading up on pop culture and food in various magazines. We came home exhausted, watched an Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa on TV, then made her food tonight--roasted asparagus with hollandaise sauce, artichokes, parmesan chicken, roasted rosemary potato slices. It's good to eat when I'm pumped full of I/V anti-nausea drugs!
- My white blood cell count was quite good after the five days of shots, but the part of the white cells that actually fight infections, the "segs," are below normal still. They also re-did my CA125 without telling me they were doing so. They normally only do that every three weeks. They had done it last week and it had slid up from the 15s to the 17s. Steve thinks that made them nervous so they re-did it (want to see it go down, not up). Today it was 15.6 again. Phew. Anything 0 to 30 is considered normal range for any woman, but cancer patients need to get under 20 to be out of the woods...and stay there.
- Random tears came today when I read an article in a magazine about a woman, 44, with a spouse and three kids, who was diagnosed with ALS and has less than five years to live. Her kids are about 7 to 12. She is living her "bucket list" as quickly as she can. One of the things was she took her 12-year-old daughter out to try on wedding dresses, then to a fancy lunch, so that one day when her daughter does that for real, she will have a memory of doing it first with her Mom. I have cried twice over this story today, knowing that I may or may not have a long life ahead after chemo ends. Believe me, if I ever get the word that my time is limited, Renee and I will try on wedding dresses! I guess what I'm saying is, we all think and hope and pray for a positive outcome, but we can't control it. It's God's plan, not mine. He knows the number of my days and we have to work with and maximize memories in whatever time frame that will be. Not just for me of course, for all of us! And that, my friends, is why I overdid it in Vancouver, despite my friend Dean's admonitions not to do so (sorry Dean)!
- Thanks to all of you who have sent cards this week--they made me smile so much (you know who you are)! Thanks to new friends, John and Nancy, who gave us the most special evening last night at their home, with delicious "foodie" meal outside in the sunshine of their beautiful backyard, and with gifts to take home (homegrown honey, homemade chutney, fresh rhubarb, and some rhubarb cobbler)! All this, and great conversation too. We loved our time with you! And thanks to my MANY friends who send daily prayers, love, and good thoughts my way. I feel them! We all do. I wonder sometimes how many times a day God hears my name in prayer. I hope He never tires of it! ;-)
- Scripture of the day--from Jesus Calling--2 Cor. 4:16-18--"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away (no hair, continually dripping nose from chemo killing off cells and hairs in there, nausea, fatigue, nerve pain in hands and feet), yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
- And fortune cookie message of the day, from recent lunch with my friend Anna, that is taped above my desk in the kitchen, "Do not give up. The best is yet to come." Amen to that!
P.S. Newest prayer request--the nerve pain in my hands and feet. I thought I had missed out on this common side effect of chemo, but it hit hard this week and is quite unsettling, to say the least. Ugh. Let's pray it lessens, goes away, and does not become permanent, which is a risk. Thanks!!