Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Happy Birthday, Frank!!
Ah ha! Wednesday again! How did I do that? I can’t believe it has been a week already since Chemo-Thursday. I have heard said that “the life of a cancer patient revolves around their chemo”..and I thought “That is pathetic.” Hee hee! Oh dear. Although I must say that it’s not that my life revolves around Thursday at Johns Hopkins…but it does become that “appointment” that nothing can interfere with, that gets me thinking about it on Wednesday as I go for my Pre-Chemo blood test here at our local hospital, then the post-chemo blood draw on Friday….so a 35 minute “chemo Thursday treatment” is suddenly a 3 day event! But does my “life revolve around chemo?” Nope! No way.
Here is the re-cap from last week. Wednesday, blood draw went fine, for some reason I called at 5:30, at the very end of the day, to confirm fax had been sent to JH, it hadn’t. But a nice lab attendant set it up, so they had my numbers when I arrived on Thursday. (significant b/c it allows them to make up the chemo first thing Thursday morning and saves about an hour or so of the long day of blood draws) Thursday, Sally and my Frank (Sally has a “Frank” too ) and I got there at 7:30. Met up with Robert for the first blood draw. (Our Phavorite Phlebotomist) --- although we need to get Frank to stop referring to him as the “Lobotomist”. He keeps saying…”Carol, I’ll meet you at Lobotomy.” THAT brings some startled looks on the elevator! By 9:30 I was cuddled into by little cubby by the window (tomorrow I’ll take a photo!) and the nurse had the anti-nausea medicine dripping away and then added the chemo. My friend Mary Anne arrived from California for a visit and so she, Sally and I chattered away though it all. Frank guarded the waiting room. We felt very safe.
Here is a HUGE answer to your prayers ~ you know the prayers that seem so specific; the prayers that show that we really do take God at His Word that He does care about the details of our lives, and that we should Cast Our Cares Upon Him ~…I was so happy to see the pharmacists from the JH Pain Management Team who came by while I was chemo-ing so that I could tell them how great the new pain management regimen is working! The week before they switched me from the short acting pain meds (every 3-4 hours as needed) to a Long Acting version that I now take every 12 hours. What a different not having to wait to “react” to the pain surges! I wasn’t sure that I wanted to make the change, but they were so right. With the long acting stuff, I sleep all night long with no pain AT ALL…I mean it…no pain! Thank you! thank you! thank you!..that is indeed an answer to your specific prayers on that. And I feel as though the good deep sleep is allowing the clinical drug (that I take at 9 am and 9 pm) to really go nuts all night long while my body rests. I have always had nice deep sleeps, so I was missing that! So now I take a Long Acting pain med at 7 am with breakfast, then generally need a “break through” short acting in between – about 5 pm, as needed to keep it all in check, probably b/c of moving around so much during the day…my theory)
After chemo and the meeting with the Pain Mgmt team, Frank, Mary Anne, Sally and I all went to lunch with Robert. Unfortunately my stomach again said, “nope!” to the lunch idea. ….gotta figure that one out. How about major prayers for “no nausea tomorrow” and we’ll let God take control of the mid-afternoon stomach gyrations?? (PLAN: You all pray, I’ll let you know how it goes, tomorrow night, a blog update, I promise. ) We stayed for the blood draws until they shut off all the lights at 8 pm in the chemo area on Thursday night, then Mary Anne and I spent the night at a swanky hotel in Baltimore where Christine had “Pricelined” a room for us for $99!! What fun. We ordered room service, and laid in bed and ate and talked and prayed. Ahhhhh, girlfriend time! Friday morning we took a cab to the hospital and Frank & Christine came later to meet us for the liver biopsy.
Friday morning, Robert-time. We had a little bit of drama though. After the blood draw, when Robert took my vitals, he asked “Do you feel alright?” Put his hand on my face. Apparently I had a bit of a fever with puts everyone in a tail spin b/c of the whole infection/immune system thing. It appeared that the Liver Biopsy might have to be re-scheduled. But – true to form – our remarkable Dr. Dan LaHeru, immediately made a space in his schedule, walked me across the hall to his exam area. As Mary Anne took notes, he declared me certainly fit to have the liver biopsy if I was up for it. All Systems Go…I was glad for that, for many reasons as you will read below. So off we went to the liver biopsy.
Now the fun shenanigans begin….Teamwork In Action. You see, Friday was Frank’s birthday and we had planned a surprise party for him out at the Eastern Shore for Friday night when we got home from JH! Christine did ALL the planning, invites, secret-keeping, etc. Everyone was to arrive at the house at 7 pm, which we thought was perfectly aligned with when our day would be over at Johns Hopkins. (so as you can see, the cancellation of the liver biopsy would have messed up the WHOLE schedule!!!) Christine was with us at JH, communicating with Erik constantly by text messages. Erik took the dogs to the Eastern Shore, made big salads, Susie & ML brought garlic bread, and Christine ordered yummy Italian dishes from our local fav spot. She also made, from scratch, the most a m a z i n g triple chocolate cake (see photo) So at the house, lots of decorating, cooking and fun going on as Steve & June arrived early to help out. Back at JH, the liver biopsy went off without a hitch. During recovery, even our nurse Carla got into the swing of things…Christine told her about the surprise and the minute-to-minute timing and we were about an hour AHEAD of schedule…so Nurse Carla comes in and says to Frank…”Mr. Marshall, mmm, in light of the internal bleeding that Mrs Marshall experienced in the past, we would like to keep her here for another hour, unless you insist that we release her????” Ha ha ha ha. It was priceless! You can imagine, poor Frank, fell right into it. Carla gave me a BIG WINK and off she went to deliver ice chips to some other patient. As you can see from the pix, the surprise party was pulled off! Our neighbors and friends were WONDERFUL to shower Frank with lots of attention and good wishes. Geez, the poor guy has not had an ounce of attention for over a month, it was much, much deserved.
We came back to Georgetown on Monday. My bookclub friend Nan brought us a gourmet dinner that evening, then on Tuesday I had Bible Study and our monthly fellowship luncheon afterwards with all the gals at Debbie’s apartment. It was a sweet, sweet time! So, as you can see: “My life does not revolve around chemo” God is not allowing that….but I am confident that the chemo is working hard while I am living life enjoying time with family, work colleagues, friends and my pals at Community Bible Study every Tuesday morning. Thanks for joining with me as I thank God for working out the pain meds, for the energy to do so many of the things that I love, and for wonderful resting up in between.
Ps. 17:6 - I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Posted by Carol Marshall News at 8:57 AM