Thursday, June 19, 2014

Triple chemo eve

Dear Family and Friends,


Good news!  After chemo was delayed a week due to low blood counts from the bone-marrow stimulating neulasta shot the hospital forgot to order for me, my counts are finally high enough to get triple chemo tomorrow.  Hooray!  Sort of.


It's such a weird thing.  You praise God and celebrate that your counts are good so you can go be filled with three poisons that will kill your cancer.  But with that comes your counts dropping back down to energy-sapping, potentially dangerous levels, and days of nausea and weakness.  Bittersweet, that's what chemo is. 


Dr. M decided to reduce my dosage tomorrow by 10% since my counts dropped so low last time.  My platelets had dropped to 28, for instance.  Normal is 150 to 400.  Ten or below is life threatening for an internal bleed that can kill you.  So she is adjusting my drug dosage to give me enough medicine to kill the cancer--but not me!  I'm all for that!


As usual, I have been living it up during these past couple of non-chemo weeks.  One highlight for me was tracking down my old college roommate, Shannon, and having lunch together on our deck after not having seen her for 25 or more years.  As I knew we would, we picked up right where we left off and had a great time.


A highlight for all four of us was spending Father's Day weekend at the home of a good friend on Shaw Island.  We explored beaches and trails, had a campfire with roasted marshmallows, read books, saw deer, seals, baby geese, and eagles, and of course, played lots of Scrabble.  During one late night game, Renee was constantly falling asleep.  When it was her turn, we would nudge her, she would stir awake, play a 40 or 50 point word, then snooze again.  She can beat us even in her sleep!  We started calling her an idiot savant for this amazing ability, which over the course of the weekend, got shortened to just idiot (spoken with great jealousy).  :-)


Daniel, the scientist, had a wondrous archaeological find on Shaw--a perfect dead deer skull.  Well, perfect except that the two jaw bones had disengaged from the head.  He soaked it in bleach and it's now sitting proudly on his dresser at home, soon to have the jaw bones wired back together.  To each his own.  The only things I want sitting on my dresser are a few photos, and perhaps a box of See's dark chocolates. 


Daniel and I have had two good adventures this week.  First, we played an hour of tennis the other day.  I haven't played in about 7-8 years.  It was SO much fun to play again, though now, due to lower blood counts and chemo, I had to rest every 10-15 minutes to catch my breath and re-hydrate.  Then yesterday we played Frisbee golf at a park that is a designated Frisbee golf course in north Seattle.  It is a super fun course with very long holes and challenging trees/bushes to go over, around, or in many instances--through, to get stuck in the middle.  We tied in Frisbee golf, but Daniel beat me 6 games to 3 in tennis--and that is with him going VERY easy on me.  Goal--to improve my tennis game to pre-cancer levels by playing once a week for the rest of the summer!


Renee is leaving this Sunday for a service trip with her junior high kids for a week.  They are going to a native American reservation in Yakima where they will do a variety of service while also learning about the culture of the people they are serving.  She hasn't been feeling too well this week, so please pray for her health and the health and safety of all the group as they head out on this trip.  I'm guessing she won't be resting much while there, in a cabin full of teeny-bopper girls.  Daniel thinks I'm the only adult on the planet who still says "teeny-bopper."  But I'm guessing some of you reading this remember that term. 


I will see if one of the kids can attach some photos to this blog post later.  Steve's very old laptop is no longer letting me attach photos!  Hence, I will be buying myself a new laptop in the next month or so, and Steve can borrow it from time to time if he plays his cards right (spoken by the woman who is earning $0/month and spending his earnings, our savings, and our insurance company's money, at a rate of about $8,000 per chemo treatment)! 


As I head into this triple chemo day and week, I am claiming God's promise of peace.  Peace for my mind, spirit, and gurgling tummy.  "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid."  John 14:27  I wish you peace, health, and many adventures this week!


Love,
Gabrielle



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