Saturday, April 5, 2014

First chemo session done

Steve again (who else would be up early on a Saturday morning around here?).

Well, we got through the first chemo session and it was a marathon day.  Gabrielle and the kids (speaking historically, of course, as they are now 24 and 25) showed up at the day surgery area of the hospital for her infusion at 10.  By around noon, the first of three drugs arrived.  Normally, she gets the chemo right in Dr. M's office, but they were so rushed to get started that there was no room at the inn, hence the little change in venue.  I thought it was nice as this is the same wing of the hospital Gabrielle spent a day or two in back in July, 1988 as it was the post, "just had my first baby" wing.  For all I know, we were in the same room.  Somewhere in the basement, we've got a picture of me holding Renee sitting in a giant rocker in the lobby of this same wing.  OK, so much for memory lane.

Aunt Julianne came by with chocolates to help keep everyone's spirits up.  The drugs went in one after the other, but it was indeed a long session of one infusion after another.  By around 3:00, she was ready to go home, so got unplugged and made a bee line for Casa Dudley in Shoreline.  Upon her arrival, she was greeted on the doorstep by a wonderful care package from the Poulsbo Dudleys (Paul, Heidi and gang) containing a beautiful blue scarf, amazing gourmet soap (OK, gourmet isn't the right word, but I can't think of it...designer? fancy?  Anyhow, it looks good enough to eat), and gourmet chocolate (now that's gourmet), and a candle.  It warmed our hearts and showed up at just the right time.  There were also two bunches of flowers...a wonderful assortment of pink tulips from Riley and an assortment of cheery yellow ones from Lynette.  They are beautiful and so cheery. Aunt Peggy from Rehoboth send cards (thanks so much!).

Gabrielle had so much energy, that she corralled us all into going on a long walk at Richmond Beach.  It was a beautifully sunny afternoon and the perfect thing to do after being indoors at the hospital all day.  When we got back home, our dear neighbors Jerry and Laura brought us dinner.  They asked Gabrielle (not me) what we wanted and since her appetite hadn't tanked yet, she asked for a super combo pizza with the works and Greek salad from Spiro's.  It hit the spot!  They are good friends, neighbors and moderately good canasta players. 

We topped the evening off with a couple of TV shows while we noshed on chocolates and sat around in a stupor from the wonderful food and unpleasant news of the past 36 hours.  I am pleased to say that we are all doing a tad better emotionally.  We only went through half a box of Kleenex rather than a box a piece the day before.  It has been great getting so much well-wishing from all of you.
As for now, she's upstairs asleep, which is great.  If things go like before, she'll feel "fine" till about 2:00 today then have a couple challenging days, then will do better for a couple more.  As far as I know, next week's session will only be one drug and the following week will be no drugs, which is great as that'll be Good Friday and we all know what that means:  Easter Eggs!  OK, there's something about Hope, the Resurrection and stuff like that in there too!  But the nice thing is the entire Easter Weekend will be a "drug free" weekend (except the resveratrol in chocolate, of course).

We are still trying to figure out how to manage in the next few weeks.  I still have some work obligations I need to attend's tough being the local expert at ear wax removal...and Daniel has this little academic journey he has embarked upon which demands at least a modicum of attention.  People have already offered to come by and keep Gabrielle company.  Be forewarned, if you do come by, she'll challenge you to canasta or Scrabble or cribbage and she likes to win, is wicked good at all three and she takes no prisoners.  Of course, she might make you sit in the basement and watch Jeopardy re-runs as well (she's good at that too).  What she's not good at is playing the pity, poor me card.  In the midst of all this, she hasn't uttered a word of complaint and has the most amazing spirit of calmness and serenity.  She is cheerful (as much as she can be) and spends more time making sure those around her are doing well than the other way around (unless she is your opponent at a game, then the gloves come off).  Even in the hospital, she was asking the nurses how they were doing and offering them chocolates.  Whatta gal! 

So that's the news so far.  We are having a birthday celebration for Daniel later today.  He wants to go to the art museum (SAM) and then grab a bite to eat.  We had planned on sushi, but that's off the list, now that Gabrielle is on chemo.  We'll find something for her to eat.  Oh, she's rustling around!  She just mentioned she had a good night...only woke up for one hour.  That's not too bad.  Will keep you posted.


  1. Love and prayers for you all-- just don't even have words... please know we are feeling this with you though we can't even begin to grasp-- may you all be covered in God's grace and peace!

  2. Steve, a huge TY for your insight into the family and, especially Gabrielle. I'll be talking w/her tomorrow and am very excited to hear how she's doing. Blessings, hugs and prayers to all of you! Soozi