Chemo (Week 7) – Almost Half Way!

Just letting you know that I’m still here kicking that cancer “between the legs” as Madison puts it so eloquently! What an imagination. Sorry, guys.

Nothing profound to report – just that I’m finishing the seventh chemo treatment today.  I go in later today for more IV fluids and get disconnected from my friend, the 48 hr. pump. I noticed that my side effects are getting a little deeper after each treatment now, especially the fatigue. A few other issues but, all in all, my doc says I’m doing really well for this kind of chemo. And I still have hair, although somewhat thinner!

After next Tuesday (7/6), I will be half-way through my chemo! Then Wednesday and Thursday, 7/7 and7/8, I go see my friends at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I will see my medical oncologist and my surgical oncologist for an evaluation of how the treatment is affecting my tumor and what we might be doing next. Of course, they’ll be looking around for other stuff, too, just in case. So far, I’m feeling optimistic about the visit. One day at a time.

My mom, Doug and the girls are holding up. The girls have LOVED Wonders & Worries. They came home this past Tuesday with little stress balls with happy faces and really nice blankets from projectlinus.org, a non-profit org that provides security blankets to children with varying needs. They are excited about their last session this coming Tuesday when they will have a party with the six other kids in the group. The kids in the group have gotten really tight.

Before I go on, please know that I plan to be on this planet for a very long time. But I’ve been reading this interesting book that Doug read and passed along called “The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness and the Men who Could Be Me” by Bruce Feiler. Of course, I’ve turned it into the “The Council of Moms.” The title pretty much says it all. When Bruce was diagnosed with cancer, he instantly wondered what his daughters’ lives would be like without him. So he came up with the idea of asking six friends from all passages of his life to be present in the passages in his daughters’ lives. He selected these friends for each of their different qualities and what they could impart to his daughters – how to see life, how to travel, how to question, how to dream and more.

Towards the end, he writes a beautiful letter to his daughters and introduces them to the Council of Dads who might be able to help them learn these life lessons which are important to the author:

  • Approach the cow – A leadership style that encourages one to takes risks, do something silly. In this case, Bruce is referring to when this friend, who was quite the leader in everything, showed him how to tip cows in Holland among many other silly things.
  • Pack your flip-flops – Self-reliance over fitting in.
  • Don’t see the wall – Or tear it down and walk through it, climb over it or around it. Believe in your ability to succeed.
  • Tend your tadpoles – Tadpoles refers to the friends who were there at the beginning. The ones you grew up with in the same geography you call home.
  • Live the questions – Teach them how to think. The phrase is from a quotation from Rainer Maria Rilke which I must include: “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.”
  • Harvest miracles – Teach them how to marvel at the everyday miracles around them. Teach them how to see.

After reading the book, I thought again about my friends – what I love about them most, the qualities that endear them to me and why we are friends. And then I had to think about what kind of friend I am to the people that have touched my life. I’m glad I read the book just for that. As a parent, it made me think again about the life lessons we desire for our kids to learn.

Hope all is well with you. Thanks to all of you for everything – the meals, the rides to and from chemo, the visits during chemo, your prayers and well-wishes. I appreciate every little thing!

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