Sunday, July 6, 2014

Half liter bags and 24 calorie bottles

Dear friends and family,

Gabrielle here.  I'm sorry to have taken so long to do a post!  I WAS able to get my single chemo a week ago and offer thanks to all who prayed that my blood counts would pass muster.  The week following was/is my "week off chemo."  During that week, there are only two days of nausea and three days of bone pain from the neulasta shot to increase my white blood cells.  Well, the one other thing is--after single chemo, I'm at the place in my chemo cycle where my blood packs its bags and disappears, with white cells, red cells, and platelets all kissing me goodbye. 

Thus, last Wednesday I went for a vigorous walk with my next door neighbor/friend, Laura, and practically passed out on the inclines. I knew my blood was off, so I went straight to the oncologist's office after the walk.  Sure enough, I was down one full liter of blood!  Not enough red cells to pump the oxygen to my muscles on the hills, not enough white cells to fight infection since the neulasta shot hadn't kicked in yet, and my platelets, which clot blood, had dropped from a healthy 250 to 50.  Normal is 150 to 400.  If you see me and look closely, you will note I am covered with bruises from the missing platelets!

On Thursday I received two large bags totaling one liter of donated blood.  I am so grateful for people who donate blood so people like me can renew our strength.  As I was receiving blood on 4th of July eve, I was also feeling grateful for all who have shed their blood for our freedom and safety. We are so blessed to live in America, the land of the free and the brave.

On July 4th itself, with a full load of blood, my newly energetic self hopped into our boat and headed to Blake Island where I enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch, the world's BEST chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, and a vigorous 3.5 mile walk on the island trails.  My dear friend, Maribeth, joined us, and we had a blessed time chatting away as we lounged in the sun on the beach.  In the evening, Daniel and Renee's friends, Philip and Riley joined us, and we headed to Lake Union for the firework show.  It was spectacular.  Along the way, Steve ran into a patient family of his on their boat.  We had fun trading mini snickers bars for starburst candies by throwing them between the boats.  :-)

The last few days have also been full of CRABBING!  We have caught 24 crabs!!  Tonight we make our second huge batch of crab cakes which we both eat and distribute to neighbors and family.

In other news, my niece Maggie is visiting us from San Diego so she can meet her nephew, my great-nephew, Jericho, who is now weighing over five pounds!  He has the sweetest, easiest disposition of any baby I've known.  And my great-niece, Ariana, is being born as I write this!  What a blessing to see the new generations being born and to kiss the soft cheeks of these precious babies.

Would you please join me in prayer this week that my platelets, white cells, and red cells will all multiply like the loaves and fishes so that I can get my triple chemo this Friday?  And for patience with the four to five days of nausea and fatigue that will follow?  Thank you SO much!  I love you all!

Lastly, when I babysit my great-nephew, Jericho, who was a preemie, we feed him tiny preemie bottles that have one scoop plus two teaspoons of formula in them to make each bottle 24 calories.  As I was feeding him this past week, I was reflecting on how this round of chemo has not made me lose weight like the first round did.  Instead, I am up five pounds!  I am the one who should be restricted to 24 calorie bottles!!  Part of my problem is my inability to pass up the wonderful chocolate and desserts people so sweetly (pun intended) give us.  So my plea for right now is--we are good in the chocolate and desserts department for awhile while I tackle these five pounds!  But I reserve the right to change my thoughts on that at any moment!!  :-)


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