Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Update on a sunny Tuesday

Dear Friends and Family,

You are all probably going CRAZY wondering how our first ever shrimping expedition went.  I am happy to report that it went "swimmingly!"  We caught 105 spot prawns.   If we had stayed out the final two hours (until 3 PM) we probably could have turned that into 130 or so.  Our two licenses were good for up to 160.  See photos of the cute little creatures below.  Steve, Daniel, and Dean did a fantastic job pulling up the super heavy pots at record speed (and Renee pitched in a little on that too).  Renee's job was to decapitate them (the prawns, not Steve, Daniel, and Dean) with her bare hands, which she was a pro at after one or two tries.  And my job was to hold open the ziploc bags to Renee could toss the headless prawns into the bags before we put them on ice.  When we got home, we cooked up the first bag of them (20 to a bag) and had our neighbor Jerry and his son Kevin over for a little pre-dinner appetizer feast.  They were delicious!

In other news, yesterday was "spa day" for Renee and me at the Willows Lodge Spa.  We started out sunning ourselves by the large outdoor jacuzzi on comfy cushioned lawn chairs, and then they called us in for a full body exfoliation with pomegranite scrub.  After that got rinsed off, leaving us with baby soft skin, we had one hour massages, which were heavenly.  Then we were served a spa lunch while getting our pedicures (I ordered the crab/prawn cobb salad and Renee ordered some sort of sandwich/salad combo...she loves sandwiches almost more than life itself).  We loved our pampering and our bonding time together and wish to thank Steve for this gift and to tell him we would like to receive this gift once a year, please.  :-)

Today I had a good one-hour exercise walk through Edmonds with my friend, Colleen (she and Mike are the ones who give us homemade yogurt...and I gratefully came home with some).  While I was away, Daniel planted all our annuals along the driveway that he and I had picked out this morning at the nursery.  Gorgeous bursts of color to give us some much needed curb appeal and something to cheer us as we drive home from chemo visits! 

Though I had a good walk today, yesterday I only made it 20 minutes on the elliptical and was out of breath with a racing heart.  I fear my blood volume is dropping again and expect that next week I will receive what I hope is my last blood transfusion.  In anticipation of that, Daniel gave blood yesterday.  He is A negative just like me (as is Renee, who has given many gallons of blood and platelets in her young life) and perhaps they will give me Daniel's blood next week.  I hope so, because he is so full of energy.  Perhaps some of it will rub off on me!

Since Thursday night this week is my best eating night (day 18 before we begin the final chemo cycle), Renee is treating all four of us to dinner out!  We are going to try Bizarro Italian Cafe in Wallingford which Steve and I used to go to when we were dating years ago.  It was recently profiled on the Food Network for their homemade pastas and I can't wait to try it again after all these years. If you decide to go, please do NOT go Thursday night, as they don't take reservations and I don't want you to make the waiting line longer!  ;-)

Steve has caught a sore throat and cold that is worsening so I am trying to sit on the opposite side of the room from him and am praying I don't catch it.  I don't want anything to interfere with my final three chemos.  I am SO ready for them to be over!  Please pray for Steve to heal quickly.  It makes me sad to see him feeling so miserable.

Lastly, I am reading a good novel called the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.  He's a 65 year-old man in South England who gets a letter from an old friend that is dying of cancer in a hospice in North England.  He decides to walk to see her--all across England--with a somewhat crazy belief that if he walks to her, she will hang on and she will live.  Anyway, as he walks he meets all sorts of people and has many growing insights about his past, his mistakes, and the human condition.  I particularly liked this quote I just read after he had met a hurting man during a stop for tea:  "Harold sat in silence.  The silver-haired gentleman was in truth nothing like the man Harold had first imagined him to be.  He was a chap like himself, with a unique pain; and yet there would be no knowing that if you passed him in the street, or sat opposite him in a cafe and did not share his teacake.  Harold pictured the gentleman on a station platform, smart in his suit, looking no different from anyone else.  It must be the same all over England.  People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appaling weight of the thing they were carrying inside.  The inhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday.  The loneliness of that."

I like this quote because when I first was told I had a life-threatening cancer and got home from the hospital but still had my hair, I would stand in line at the grocery store and look at the others around me.  I would think to myself, "no one here has a clue that the normal looking woman standing next to them in line has 44 fresh staples forming a train track up her abdomen and is about to start a grueling 18-weeks of chemotherapy which may or may not save her life.  They have no idea of the terror she is feeling right now as she buys her milk (well, in my case, it was probably very cold milk in a Ben & Jerry's container). 

I want to always remember that those around me may look like they are going about their days in normalcy when on the inside, they could be carrying an appaling weight and bearing the loneliness of that.  I hope that words of kindness, smiles, prayers, cards, or a helping hand will make a difference.  Just like all your kindnesses to my family and me have helped lift the weight of what we are going through and made it far less lonely.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!


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