The good things are that Mike has finished his first cycle of chemo and done so well we can't believe it. I think this weekend has been the hardest yet though. He takes steroids the night before and the morning of the chemo, and they give him pre-meds, including steroids, right before they start the chemo meds. So for the first few days afterwards, he's usually feeling pretty happy and enthusiastic about everything. We won't go into the day he almost bought a house up here on a steroid high.
And the lows are not related so much to this illness as the fact that we want to live in WA more than anything and are tied to Montgomery because of Mama. She can't or won't move with us, and there is nowhere else for her besides a nursing home, and she's not disabled or sick or anything. We never intended to live in Alabama, but things just worked out that way. It's not our home, and we don't really feel at home there, but we have an obligation to give her a home.
We go over and over the possibilities and reject them and start over. It's just a time when we have to stop micro-managing everything and let God tell us what we should do. As bad as this situation with cancer is, we have to be thankful that it's allowed us this chance to have these months where we want to be.
It would take pages and pages to describe the joy Graysen gives us. She has changed just in the two weeks plus I've been here, and I told her tonight when we were rocking that I didn't know how I was going to be able to leave Tuesday. We have a little routine for going to sleep that is so precious. At the beach when I put her down for a nap or bedtime, I would read a couple of books (quickly because she wasn't interested) and put her in her bed to usually cry and yell a little bit. It's different with Emily and Ryan because they already have their bedtime routines, but I love figuring out what makes us both happy.
We first start talking about going to sleep and talking about which books we're going to read. At night I turn on her closet light and the white noise machine, and we settle down for story time with one of her blankets. She is insatiable when it comes to stories and would listen to and look at 20 books if I didn't mention sleeping. Once I say something like, "Time to rock with Mimi," she turns around and puts her arms around my neck and closes her eyes and I rock her for a few minutes. And of course talk nonsense to her. Then it's just a matter it putting her in her crib and tucking her in. She snuggles down so sweetly, and that's it. So much easier on my heart than hearing her cry.
Emily and Ryan went fishing late this afternoon, so we watched her play so nicely downstairs and then fed her supper. I was washing the dishes when I heard this little voice behind me saying, "Peeee, peeee." I turned around, and she was holding out a package of the little baby cookies called Mums or something like that. She had found them in her diaper bag and was sweetly asking if she could have them (please). Her parents have her sit on the floor for snacks or in her chair, so she plopped right down and said, "Peeee," again. No way I could resist that. She crossed her legs and sat there happily munching them and even said thank you when I gave her the second one - or a-ou. It's amazing how much she understands even though she can't communicate it all to us.
She also has a displeased set of actions that unfortunately makes us laugh, although we try hard not to. I've tried to capture it with the camera but failed. She wrinkles her brows and narrows her eyes and puts her finger up in front of her face in a warning. She does it so seriously. Tonight she was about to drop some cheese on the floor for the dog, and I said not to, and I really got what I call the thundercloud look. The word "no" in any form will do it too.
I have to stop typing and go to bed. I have a few pictures from this week, some from the clinic and some taken here. Nothing special but just a slice of our lives this week.
The usual look when he sees the camera.
We did get a cubicle this time, so it's a good thing Emily wasn't with us. A funny thing happened behind that curtain. There is no privacy, so everything that is said is heard by everyone, although you try not to hear. At some point, the lady there was talking to her nurse, and we heard her mention Alabama. There is always some mention of Alabama while we're there, and the nurse Friday said that they had a travelling tech or nurse from Alabama and ran off to get him. He came and introduced himself and said, "Matt Smith from Hot Springs, Arkansas, but close enough."
So being the introvert he is, Mike waited about 20 seconds before starting to talk to the lady on the other side of the curtain about where she was from: "Not being nosy or anything....." She joined right in and said that she lived in WA, but her husband had died, and she was moving to Birmingham to live near her sister. Small world. Mike explained our situation to her, and she asked if the female she heard was his daughter. He said, "No, it's my elderly wife." She came right back with, "I heard you give your birth date to the nurse, so I know how old YOU are." Such a sweet lady. She came by and visited after she finished her treatment and made me wish we could run into her again. I only know her first name and that she's moving to Homewood.
Since the space was so small and the day was so beautiful, I took my lunch and went out on the 3rd floor terrace to make some phone calls. Lovely. Although it was sunny, there was the smallest hint of a cool breeze to make it pleasant.
The visit was a good one. He had lost a pound and had low white counts, so he got a booster shot of Neulasta to build up the white blood cells. Other than that, Dr. Kaplan was pleased with his progress so far. He has a 2 week break before starting the 2nd cycle on Sept 5th. I'm not sure when I'll come back. I guess we'll see how he does that first time and overall. There is more tiredness this week than last and again the headache and heartburn. I guess it's to be expected, but maybe these 2 weeks will get him back to feeling good.
Emily and Ryan were able to spend a couple of days at a cabin by a lake with some friends (I forgot to find out the name). So beautiful, and they had a great time. Some pictures Emily texted us.
Tomorrow is my last day here for awhile, so I need to make the most of it. Flying home won't be as nice as flying here, I have a feeling.