Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Oh joy, oh rapture, another chemo treatment! Seriously, I’m trying to psych myself into having a very positive attitude towards the chemo, because it has such a beneficial effect without any debilitating side effects. My ascites remains stable – for 21 weeks now – and my energy level is almost back to pre-cancer days, probably because my hematocrit is now in the low normal range. Overall, I am much stronger than at this same time last year. So I’m trying to consider my two-week cycles as my life ring in this rough sea of disease (this metaphor is appropriate for me because I’m dreaming about our scuba diving trip to our timeshare in Cayman Brac in August).

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Scientist turned seamstress….I have finally accepted the fact that I am probably going to have my Buddha Belly (aka Ascites) for the rest of my life, unless some chemotherapeutic magic bullet manages to hit it. It is almost 20 weeks since I was last “tapped” and Dr. Marshall thinks that the ascites can continue to be controlled by the judicious use of diuretics plus my every 2-week chemo cycle. So far, so good. But not with respect to my summer wardrobe!! So I have spent the past three nights “enlarging” the waists of my pants and shorts. It’s actually been a rather therapeutic coming to grips with the reality of my present situation, AND I have finally learned to use my new Bernina sewing machine (already several years old) which requires a totally different approach from my old Singer.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The good, the bad, and the wonderful. The day after returning from our wonderful weekend in Grand Rapids I was feeling rather painfully bloated, but nonetheless decided that we would go as scheduled to a dear friend’s house for dinner. We enjoyed a wonderful evening of gourmet food, fine wine, and lots of fun, but on returning home, I could sense that I was in trouble. Almost immediately I started having intense pains and violent vomiting which would continue every 15 min for the next 6 hrs – apparently another partial intestinal blockage which we can now say seems to occur about every 8 weeks. As a result I spent all of Wednesday in the ER getting poked and scanned, to the conclusion that I had “ileus” which is basically a temporary cessation of intestinal function which prevents the stomach from emptying. I vigorously protested staying in the hospital for “observation’ and went home to sleep for 15 hrs and then returned to my beloved lab, where my recovery is always accelerated. Then for the wonderful – today Dorrie and Jeff invited us to Wolf Trap to see “RiverDance” – the incredible Irish dancers. The weather was perfect, breezy and in the 70’s, and the performance thrilling. It was flanked by a wonderful lunch and lobster dinner, all celebrating their 40th anniversary. Hard to believe the we two couples, both having grown up in the same small town in Pennsylvania and both having started dating each other in high school, now have a collective 81 years of marriage between us! That is true happiness. So life continues to be as intense as ever such that my memory of the difficult times is very short, and my memory of the good times enduring, filling my soul with joy at being alive.

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