Dear family and friends,
Gabrielle here. Today was chemo day #12 (a single, only six to go) and this has been a great day. I say that with all honesty. And I can't believe--wouldn't have ever believed--that I could say that about a day of getting chemotherapy that will hopefully save my life. It just amazes me.
I awoke a little early because I wanted to bake some cookies to bring to my doctors, nurses, and office staff to celebrate the two-thirds done marker. Daniel had made the dough last night--the most amazing chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough. After baking the cookies and writing a thank you note to go with them, Daniel awoke, we ate our fruit smoothies and muesli and peanut butter toast, packed our chemo bag and headed to the cancer center.
When we handed the cookies and note to our two chemo nurses (whom we adore), one appeared to tear up and both hugged me. Then the one who wasn't teary pulled us aside and said about the other nurse "she really needed that today to know that what she's doing here is making a difference." Later, EVERYONE in the office stopped by our private chemo room (which they always give us due to our loud and raucous movies...and because they love us so much) to exclaim over the delicious cookies and to thank us for them. So that was really fun.
Instead of watching a movie during our three hours there today, we were on Daniel's computer planning our "chemo is over" celebratory trip! We will be going to a place we have always wanted to see in mid-June--the coast of Maine. We will be walking and swimming the beaches, eating lobsters, touring lighthouses, and hiking the trails of Acadia National Park (on the rocky coast). So it was fun to dream about the trip as we picked out our route and hotels.
After chemo, we figured we had better celebrate the two-thirds marker by eating tacos al carbon and enchiladas rancheras at Jalisco's Mexican Restaurant. Wouldn't you agree?! I had forgotten to bring a hat or scarf today and went out to lunch with all my many bald spots in full display. Nobody stared or gawked and everyone was super nice as we practiced our limited Spanish. And the food was magnificent!
When we got home, more excitement! On the porch was the most beautiful basket filled with homebaked banana bread, assorted teas, and a sweet note from my friend, Becky. We immediately made the tea and sliced banana bread which was EXCELLENT! This was so perfect for the traditional "post-chemo crash period" where I need to sit back in my lazyboy and just do nothing for a couple hours. [Oh--and I loved my great phone conversation with Becky's Dad, Chuck, this week too. :-) ]
When Steve got home, Daniel took a nap and Steve and I went for a one-hour walk and short visit to the grocery store. At the grocery store, a woman asked me if I was in treatment (I was wearing a hat) and I said yes and she asked if she could hug me and told me she was one year out from mouth cancer. We had a good chat and then another hug. The kindness of strangers!
Speaking of kindnesses, let me tell you about a few more of them this week! My mother-in-law, Abby, sent me a mystery book signed to me from the author! My friend, Loretta, brought us fabulous Greek lemon rice soup and chicken to put in it! Steve's nurse, Holly, made us homemade healthy whole wheat/date scones. Yummo! My friend, Anna, gave me a cute cotton head turban for spring! And my friend, Nancy, sent us a gourmet great box containing hand-tied teas from France in little cotton muslin sacks, ginger syrup to put in it (awesome for nausea), and outstanding almond/marzipan cookies from Italy! Oh my goodness...I have already devoured three of the cookies with the tea and ginger syrup. Unbelievably good...and unbelievable thoughtfulness from all the people I've mentioned here. And as always, thank you to all of you who KEEP sending me cards! I just can't believe that here we are, three months into this journey and you haven't forgotten me! You know who you are and I just can't thank you enough!
One two last fun things about yesterday...I was feeling so good from the blood transfusion that I went to my office to hug all my colleagues and then we went on our "hills of Queen Anne" walk over the lunch hour. I was able to make it up all those stairs and hills at a reasonable pace without collapsing for the one-hour walk. Hooray! It was SO much fun and SO good to see everyone. I miss them all very much. I also got in good hugs from my friends in another department--Sharleen and Mia. And then last night, our friends/neighbors, Laura and Jerry, came for dinner, bringing us gorgeous red tulips, and taught us to play Canasta! Some of you know the Dudleys love games so we really enjoyed learning a new one. It didn't hurt that Daniel won and I came in second. Beginners luck. Now Renee is over for Friday night dinner and we are going to make her learn Canasta. She hates games so this is taking every bit of persuasion I have ever had in asking for multi-million dollar gifts in my fund-raising career!!
I want to close with a couple of verses from Philippians: "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy...(verse 1:3-4)" and "It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart" (verse 7). When I get a call, email, card, or gift from one of you, I thank God for you! I remember you all in my prayers and when your names come to mind as I pray, I do indeed pray with and feel joy for the blessing of your love and friendship. May God bless you this week, dear family and friends!