Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Each night I pause, remembering, some lovely, precious thing

Dear Family and Friends,

I hardly know where to start, as so much has happened since my last post.  But let’s just start by saying “Adios” to my hair!  Yep, after just one month of my new double chemo, my hair is falling out by the fistful and making a huge mess everywhere.  Thus, today at 5:20 PM, I have an appointment to have it shaved off.  Poor Jericho!  When he sees me on Saturday, he will wonder who the bald-headed woman is and where did his Ga Ga go?!

Yesterday I finished chemo number four, which almost didn’t happen.  My neutrophils, the part of your white blood cells that fight infection, were only 1.17, and the cutoff for it being too risky to get chemo is 1.0.  Yikes!  My doctor was out yesterday, but today she will call and tell me to start the neupogen shots in my stomach for four to five days in a row this week.  Neupogen is the drug that helps your bone marrow make more neutrophils.  The shots hurt and bruise your abdomen, but the worst part is that neupogen makes your bones ache as it stimulates your bone marrow to work harder to make blood cells.  This week will be challenging, but as I’ve shared so many times, even through the hardest parts of battling cancer, God seems to send an equivalent amount of joy to make my days not just survivable, but truly worth living.

For instance, our beautiful daughter, Renee, got engaged to her long-time love and best friend, Riley, a week ago!  We are overjoyed to welcome Riley to our family, and I am thanking God that He has kept me alive to attend my daughter’s wedding!  Do Mother-of-the-bride dresses have to have sequined sparkly things all over the fabric?  Wig or hat?  Heels or shoes I can dance all night with?  These are the musings in my head this week as my mind turns to wedding planning! 

In other news, the new cancer drug we have been waiting for, and that many of you have joined us in praying for, slated for fast track approval by the NIH by June 30, got approved EARLY—this very week!  It is designed exactly for my type of ovarian cancer, and while not able to cure the cancer, it is shown to extend life expectancy in most women who took part in the clinical trials.  We are praising God for this answer to prayer!  The oncologist won’t start me on Niraparib automatically, but will wait to see how my current drugs are working when I get my next scan on May 19th, and then will decide if it’s time to start the new drug or not.  But knowing it is approved and on the market, if/when I need it, is a tremendous blessing.

Another blessing has been that even after just four treatments, the pain in my stomach and back have decreased to barely noticeable most days!  I have been eating normal amounts of food again and have been able to walk three to four miles or work out on our elliptical machine about four days a week.  So thankful for these simple pleasures I took for granted for so many years. 

Other joys have included teaching Jericho to make our famous chocolate chip cookies, Daniel turning 27 on April 1 and finishing his arduous surgery clerkship the Friday before, and Steve fixing our leaky kitchen faucet.  Oh, and have you noticed—things are finally blooming (like our pink dogwood tree and tulips)!

My dear Uncle Roger, who just lost his own daughter, my cousin Andrea, to cancer, sent me a wonderful poem this week about the coexistence of joy and adversity, and how even through the worst of times, splashes of joy appear to make life so worth living.  Here is the poem, given to him by a friend in 1964, author unknown:

“The day will bring some lovely thing” –
I say it over each new dawn –
“Some lovely, precious thing to hold
against my heart when it is gone.”
And so I rise and go to meet
the day with wings upon my feet.

I come upon it unaware,
Some sudden beauty without name:
a snatch of song, a breath of pine,
a poem lit with golden flame;
high tangled bird notes keenly thinned,
like flying colors on the wind.

No day has ever failed me quite –
Before the grayest day is done,
I come upon some misty bloom
or a late line of setting sun.
Each night I pause, remembering,
some lovely, precious thing.

And I will add in closing, “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them.  Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice before the Lord who comes, who comes to govern the earth, to govern the world with justice and the peoples with faithfulness.”  Psalm 96:11-13

Gabrielle Dudley

Daniel and girlfriend, Adrienne, serenading us with "City of Stars" from the movie, "La La Land!"

Steve and me on a rainy day walk at Alki, followed by our favorite pizza at Pegasus!

I could look at this photo all day.  Renee reading Thomas the Tank Engine books to Jericho ("Thomas, more Thomas")!

After doing all the adding of ingredients and stirring himself, Jericho squeezes the scooper, dropping his cookies onto the pan to bake!

My beautiful girls--Renee and Riley--at their engagement celebration at Lantern Brewery!

Daniel and me by the Montlake Cut on his birthday when we went with Steve to see the cherry blossom trees at the UW Campus!

My handsome, 27-year-old, April Fool's Day "baby"--never too old for his Winnie the Pooh birthday banner!


  1. Oh this is so wonderful! I'm so happy for you Gaby and I love you forever.

  2. Great news of the new drug approval - angels involved. Your family is beautiful. Blessings to you. Nancy Z